Green initiatives inspired by the crisis

KATHMANDU: Buying less stuff, reducing consumption of things, efficient use of energy are a few issues often emphasised when there are talks about ways to go green. Some people, without anyone telling them, are doing so, and others often ignore these things. The recent shortage of petroleum products — LPG, petrol, or diesel — forced people in the Capital to “consume less”. People definitely faced difficulties, as they had to sustain on less. On a positive note, many have learnt to reduce the wastage of things, a step towards going green. They also switched to clean energy sources. Some people share with The Himalayan Times, how they — knowingly or unknowingly — took initiatives to ‘go green’ during the crisis.

I have learnt to make efficient usage of LPG, thanks to the only half-cylinder gas left in my house when the shortage of petroleum products started. Our family of three (my two brothers and me) were clear that we had to survive on the remaining gas unless the LPG would be easily available in the market. In times other than load shedding, I prepare rice in the rice cooker, while cook pulse and curry in gas stove. Now I have started to make everything in rice cooker — I boil pulse as well as vegetables in it. Then I fry the vegetable just for a few minutes in gas, this way I have been saving the use of gas for past few months. It has become a habit now. I bought a full cylinder of LPG two days ago, but I have not been tempted to use it for everything. I rely on electricity and rice cooker for most of the cooking.

— Bindu Luitel, Student, Shankhamul

I use LPG for preparing meals — at home and at workplace. Other than that, I rely on electricity for works like boiling water, preparing tea et cetera as my only motto these days is to make minimum use of LPG. I started doing this owing to the fuel shortage, and now I have realised the ways I had been wasting energy. For instance, after switching on gas stove while boiling water, or preparing tea I would leave it unattended and do other works. At times, it would keep on boiling for even an hour! My habit has changed these days — mostly I boil water and make tea in electric kettle. During load shedding, when I have to use LPG, I won’t let the gas waste by over-cooking anything. In my family, we have stopped the trend of heating and reheating meals repeatedly — instead, I cook meal at a certain time when everyone is at home and eat together so that there is no need to reheat it. If not possible, I put the meal in hot case for the one who is not home on time.

— Shanti Tamang, Office Assistant, Jawalakhel

Before there was shortage of petrol, I would commute to office via motorcycle. As there was no petrol available in petrol pumps, I started travelling in public vehicles. But there were not enough public vehicles plying on the roads, and it was not easy to get on those crowded vehicles. So, I started walking from my room in Chabahil to my office in Koteshwor. Not only have I lost weight, I have become healthy too. And as my daughter says, I think I have reduced my carbon footprints by not travelling on fossil-fuel run vehicles that emit harmful gases to the environment.

— Gangadhar Sharma, Cashier, Chabahil

I did not do anything with a thought of environment — I was forced to try certain things like sharing meal with my neighbours, travelling via public vehicles and using electricity to cook things when petrol, diesel and LPG were not easily available in the market. It is not practical to continue doing all the aforementioned things we did in crisis, even after there is smooth supply of products, just for the sake of conserving environment. But certain things can be given continuity — like making maximum use of clean energy, be it the electricity generated from hydro-power or solar energy. We can reduce the use

of our cars and choose to travel in public vehicles — not only it cutbacks air pollution, the roads become less crowded too.

— Jenish Shrestha, Student, Bhaktapur

Not only the fuel crisis, the never-ending load shedding has also added woes to the life of Nepalis. We don’t have gas to cook, petrol/diesel to run our vehicles or electricity to turn on light. In these few months I have realised a need to be dependent not on anyone — even our government. So, I have planned to install solar panel — a renewable source of energy — in my house. From heating water to generating electricity to charging electrical appliances, the energy generated from it can be used for a number of purposes. I realised its need in the time of crisis where nothing was available; we had no option but to burn firewood even to heat water for bathing. And I am going to install it very soon, I am in talks with the vendors now.

— Rabi Khadka, Shopkeeper, Koteshwor