CAIRO, Aug. 10 (SEE)- The climate change is the hottest and most urgent issue for the international community today. Now, the effects of climate change have threatened human life. This includes rising sea levels, poor agricultural production, undernourishment, hunger.
Several global environmental organizations had issued warnings about global climate degradation, stating that it would have catastrophic consequences in the future. Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that climate change could lead to an additional 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050. This includes 38,000 elderly people deaths due to sunlight exposure, 48,000 deaths from diarrhea and malaria, and between 60,000 and 95,000 children will die from malnutrition.
These international organizations warned that Egypt will be one of the most affected countries by climatic deterioration. Consequences may include total submergence of more than one-third of Nile Delta, and displacement of 20 million people. As a result, the country could lose more than 15 percent of its fertile land and agricultural products.
During the climate summit in Paris 2016, the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi referred to the dangers of global warming. He called on the international community to support the Egyptian efforts in dealing with climate change. Although, we have the Paris Agreement - a framework that sets out exactly what needs to be done to stop climate imbalances and stop its impact. But this agreement itself is meaningless without ambitious action.
The plans presented by countries, therefore, are not enough to keep global warming within the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C degree limit. That is why UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for a special summit in New York, the Climate Action Summit, which will convene and urge global leaders to set forth concrete plans that raise ambition on climate action.
Young leaders from all over will gather at the first-ever Youth Climate Summit to showcase climate solutions and engage with decision-makers on the defining issue of our time. So, in this report “SEE” offers all Solutions offered by Egyptian experts and Youth initiatives, who presented important solutions to help decision-makers in developing a national strategy to address climate change issue.
Stop using Plastic
It is noteworthy that Egypt produces 970 thousand tons of plastic waste annually, which are one of the sources of cancer diseases that affect humans. Moreover, according to the latest statistics of the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, the number of bags consumed in Egypt about 12 billion bags annually, which threatens the environment and public health in Egypt.”
Dr. Mahmoud Soliman, an environmental expert, explains that there are health and environmental serious damage resulting from the use of plastic materials. He added to “SEE” that the manufacturing process produces a range of gas emissions that harm the climate and the environment in general.
“ The plastic materials need long years to decompose, which makes the world is full of plastic waste, which causes the death of marine organisms in large quantities,” Soliman said.
Also, last June, Red Sea Governor Ahmed Abdullah announced the ban on the use of plastic bags, replacing them with paper ones, to protect the environment from the damage of plastic materials.
Recently, a number of young people and social media users have launched "Do not use plastics" campaigns to reduce health and environmental impacts. one of these initiatives is the “Banlastic” project, which aims to ban single-use plastics in Egypt.
This project works to provide alternative products instead of using plastics, focusing on consumer awareness through workshops and cleaning beaches and increasing the Arabic content on the Internet about plastic pollution.
Ahmed Yassin, one of the project's founders, said the project is working to produce environmentally friendly products by converting everything that is plastic into paper or fabric.
Yassin added that the project organized a number of campaigns to clean the beaches, and to educate citizens on the importance of maintaining cleanliness, to protect marine organisms, and awareness campaigns have been organized on the dangers of plastic materials in a number of institutions.
Egyptian university students also organized several campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of using plastics. The students used the slogan "Plastic is harmful to the environment and all living organisms, you must use the alternative, support us in the campaign without plastic."
Dr. Ahmed Sharif, a professor of architecture at American University in Cairo, pointed to his experience in participating in green building projects in Egypt. He said that green building has multiple benefits for preserving the environment and facing climate change because it is characterized by low energy consumption. The construction of green buildings in Egypt will lead directly to the reduction of high temperatures and reduce the impact of the phenomenon of heat in the big cities.
He also offered some solutions such as: developing an emergency plan in cities and governorates that are affected by the negative of climatic fluctuations such as «high or low temperatures and increased erosion of beaches and sandstorms», and carrying out further studies to identify the abnormal phenomena that began to hit Egypt. This, in addition to providing sufficient funding by the government to implement environmental projects.
“ Rationalizing the consumption of natural resources, including water and energy, and educating citizens and integrating them in the plan to address climate change, and encouraging the use of public transport, rather than inpidual means of transportation with the goal to rationalize the use of fuel.” He added.
He referred to the relying on renewable energy in energy production, and the gradual abandonment of fossil fuels (petroleum, coal and natural gas) is an important step to preserve the environment.
Mahitab Elramal, a researcher at the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, a fellow at the Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Engineering IHE-Delft, Netherlands said that adoption of the industrial ecology to promote sustainable development is a must. Meeting the needs of the present generation without sacrificing the needs of future generations has to be put on the policymakers’ agendas to assure minimizing the depletion of non-renewable resources and degradation of renewable ones.
Here are some approaches to mitigate the consequences of climate change in Egypt:
-Promoting the transaction to the circular economy which focuses on three main pillars, economic growth acceleration, and enhancing social life by creating jobs opportunities, and preserve the environment by preventing pollution of Green House Gas GHG emissions. Establishing eco-industrial clusters where the wastes and by-products of one company can be used as inputs for another industry is a bench-mark to lessen environmental degradation due to industrial activities in Egypt.
-Enhancing the capacity of wastewater treatment plants in Egypt is a promising step towards sustainable use of natural resources. Besides the wastewater treatment, wastewater plants can use hydraulic power of running wastewater to produce electricity to meet its power needs and provide power to the adjacent households. Wastewater treatments can recover energy and raw materials during regular treatment processes such as producing biogas, algae for animal feed, and chemicals production; Nitrogen and phosphate for fertilizers production; cellulose for paper production, recovery of carbon dioxide for cooling processes and heat for industrial and households applications.
-Engaging local people in environmental protection through citizen-science approaches is crucial for the successful environmental management plans in Egypt. People can be involved in air, water, biopersity monitoring. There are many smartphones’ applications that can be easily used by non-experienced people. These applications are connected to governmental data platforms, where people can upload their results valuable for the government decision-makers to set the proper climate change mitigation and adaptation plans.
Furthermore, the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE) in Egypt, a regional, diplomatic organization aims at activating and increasing the utilization of renewable energy and energy efficiency practices in the Arab region.
The Center’s team is working with regional governments and international organizations to initiate and direct clean energy policy dialogue and strategies. With the accession of 17 Arab countries, it seeks to spearhead initiatives and expertise in renewable energy and efficiency in all Arab countries. Also, the center offers new training opportunities to young people to carry out research, analyze trends and technologies of renewable energy.
– Planting trees in all neighborhoods, because they consume carbon and increase oxygen in the atmosphere, planting 12 million trees in Cairo, and tree forests around the cities (Green Belts) can be planted with wastewater treated with simple technologies and costs.
– Filtration of factory chimneys, taking into account that Cairo factories (12,600 factories) are responsible for 50% of the carbon production in the atmosphere. The experts propose devising simple techniques such as passing factory smoke on carbonated water ponds and producing electricity, Temperatures to about half.
– Waste recycling should be properly converted into useful products and electrical energy because the burning of garbage in Egypt causes 15% of air pollution. It is worth mentioning that Egypt produces about 52 million tons of waste annually (Cairo produces 25 thousand tons per day). Also, expanding the use of rice straw in agricultural industries and applications rather than burning it.
– Preventing the erosion of the Nile River and the agricultural canal cover. This can be done by solar cells, as in India. Thus, the country can control river discharge, produce clean, sustainable electricity to fill the energy deficit, and industrial feed by throwing periodic sand on the shore to protect it from erosion. However, this will not prevent the expected increase in saltwater intrusion and salinity gradually.
– Prohibition of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in agriculture, reliance on natural alternatives and sustainable organic agriculture (production of organic fertilizers from treated agricultural and animal waste.
Furthermore, international reports have identified the green building as a means of resisting climate change. It has been shown that green building reduces consumption of 30 percent of energy, 35 percent of carbon emissions and 50 percent of water consumption.