KARACHI         -        Federal Minister and Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Thursday said that the incumbent government was taking serious steps for improvement of environment and strict pursuing vision of Clean and Green Pakistan.

Addressing the National Conference on Biogas Project for Karachi Red Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) at a local hotel on Thursday, he said that developing urban transport was not just a matter of supplying buses.

The minister said that in the era of environmental concerns, a critical consideration was how to power the system. He reiterated that climate change remained a top priority for the federal government to support the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative to reduce the effects of climate change and any potential initiative with should be encouraged and replicated across the country.

Aslam said that approximately over 50 thousand gallons of water was being wasted on daily basis in Karachi which would be utilised in this project. Emission of carbon gas at huge level was polluting the environment of the megalopolis.

He said that 213 bus fleet would benefit around 300,000 people of the city under the project on daily basis. He termed the project as a transformational project and a big gift for Karachiites.

Sindh Minister for Transport & Mass Transit Awais Qadir Shah addressing the conference said that two major challenges were being faced by the government, lack of transport facilities for masses and environmental change. He said that mass transit project was the most important need of the city and this project would benefit the citizens at large with provision of affordable traveling facility besides being an eco-friendly project.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang said “Most jobs and employment opportunities are located in the urban economies. Road congestion is costing Asian economies an estimated 2 to 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) every year due to lost time and higher transport costs”.

She said that one of the biggest challenges being faced by Karachi like any other urban city of Asia was maintaining vital economic growth while ensuring quality of life and livability standards.

The Karachi Red Line BRT, and especially the biogas project was part of ADB’s vision to transform Karachi into a competitive, equitable and environmentally sustainable urban center.

Ambassador of France to Pakistan Marc Barety speaking in the conference said that the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) was a French agency working in Pakistan since 2006. The AFD was also funding the Red Line project as it was focusing on projects of urban management.

He said the AFD was prioritising such environment friendly projects. The project was a wonderful example of an international cooperation. Earlier in his welcome address Sindh Minister for Energy Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh said that the government of Sindh was fully cooperating with the international agencies for execution of the mass transit project.

He informed the participants that Red Line project was the world’s first transport project to receive funding from UN Green Climate Fund due to its use of an innovative and environment-friendly fuel resource.

The Karachi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Red Line Project, with the estimated cost of Rs. 78,384.33 million, being implemented by the Government of Sindh would be first ever transport system in the country to use bio-methane produced from animal waste as a fuel resource providing an efficient and affordable transport solution for citizens and significantly reducing carbon emission level from the metropolis.

The feasibility and design of the project was presented in the conference organized by ADB in collaboration with the Sindh government, UN Green Climate Fund, AFD and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, all financiers of the Karachi Red Line BRT project.

According to the feasibility study, the Karachi Red Line BRT would have its own dedicated biogas plant located in the Landhi Cattle Colony where 2000 tons of cattle waste would be utilized to produce 60,000 Nm3 per day of biogas. The biogas plant would deliver 11 tons per day of Compressed Biomethane Gas to the bus fleet, increasing to 17 tons over the life of BRT line as demand increases.