Green Campus Project of IUB
CITIES, organizations and big businesses need to have individual plans to deal with the dangerous climate changes and environmental degradation.
Cities around the globe are facing problems with overheating, flooding, water shortage, air and water pollution, climate breakdown, loss of biodiversity and extreme weather. These environmental issues are also damaging the infrastructure of cities.
The environmental problems getting more frequent and worse as the earth is getting more heated and the climate is more likely to changes.
Most of the cities around the globe also do not have financial resources to protect themselves against the devastation of environmental degradation even though they are facing very serious environmental issues.
According to a survey of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), 43% of global cities do not have any plan to tackle environmental issues: climate changes, water pollution and air pollution.
The survey cited budgetary constraints as a key factor as these cities are mostly reliant on the federal governments to save their populations and infrastructure from these threats.
The financing of adoption of the cities and organizations to environmental impacts is trickier despite having enormous benefits. Renewable energy and energy efficiency projects reduce toxic emissions and generate monetary benefits.
Establishing green infrastructure not only minimizing the use of environmental resources but also increase the productivity and efficiency of the citizens.
Similarly reducing the risk of damages and disasters from climate changes such as flooding or drought and increasing the resilience to climate breakdown carries many benefits for the citizens, including cleaner water and air.
However, adaptation to environmental crises projects generate benefits that are less obvious to citizens, they, therefore, do not value these projects and public policies do not prioritize them.
Though the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made the people realized their vulnerability to natural shocks.
It has opened their eyes to the issues of resilience and cooperation to save the planet from natural disasters, yet we don’t see any major shift in public policies towards environmental resilience.
There is a need for the support of the national government and global financial institutions to make cities and organizations more resilient in the long run.
The business also needs to finance the adaptation projects as they are the main stakeholders. The cities in advanced countries such as London, Bristol, Los Angeles, and Athens are adapting well to environmental issues.
Athens the Greek capital is planning to green all the roofs in the city and massive plantations of trees to cool the overheated streets.
Similarly educational organizations especially public sector universities around the globe have started initiatives for environmental sustainability.
The large size public sector universities are like a small city having a huge population, area and complex operational activities.
These activities have serious environmental implications, therefore, campus sustainability has become an important issue of global concern for university planners and policymakers.
An environmentally sustainable campus is considered to generate minimum environmental degradation while producing education and research services for the community.
However, countries in developing countries have reckless urbane planning resulting in air and noise pollution, densely packed neighbourhoods, traffic congestion, uncontrolled buildings sprawl and water scarcity.
They do not have the resources and brain to have environmental adaptation plans to tackle upcoming theatres.
Organizations and businesses do not have the culture or thinking to establish their plans to tackle environmental issues at the bottom. The Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB), Pakistan has taken the lead in this regard by starting the Green Campus Programme, IUB.
This programme aims to address the environmental concerns for the university campus in line with the concept of a sustainable campus.
This project addresses the following specific objectives: reduce energy, water, plastic and paper per head use at the campus, initiatives for green infrastructure and sustainable transportation, reduce food wastage, promote green health care system, increase research on sustainability, and course on sustainability and environment.
The project aims to promote environmental awareness through workshops, walks, seminars and research conferences on sustainability and environmental issues at campuses.
These objectives are being achieved through a centralized integrated environment management program.
The IUB intends to regularly conduct energy, fuel water, paper and plastic audit at all IUB campuses. It is also working on installing renewable technologies: Water recycling plant and solar energy plant.
The recycling plant will decrease the total water footprint while the solar plant will help minimize the carbon footprint of the IUB.
Moreover, the master plan of the university also has been improved so that the university will have a green infrastructure in future.
The combination of both technological upgradation and improved practices of using environmental resources will make IUB a green and sustainable university that is more efficient than traditional universities.
After maturing in this programme, the IUB will be able to export this IUB product to other organizations of the country and of the globe as well.
Moreover, students and employees trained under a sustainability culture will multiply environmental values and contribute towards the goal of a sustainable society.
Hence tackling the environmental issues from the city and organizational level will produce sustainable and far-reaching impacts.
—The writer is contributing columnist.