Karachi will roll out transport system fuelled by buffalo dung

karachi buses buffalo dung, the venture magazine

Dung cakes, made from the by-products of animal husbandry, are traditionally used as fuel in India for making food in a domestic hearth called a Chulha. They are made by hand by village women and are traditionally made from cow or buffalo dung. One dung cake of an average size gives 2100 kJ worth of energy. Dung cakes are also known as goitha, uple, kande, gosse or thepdi.

When you think clean energy, poo is hardly the first thing that comes to mind. Yet the Pakistani city of Karachi is banking buses powered by buffalo dung to lower its carbon dioxide emissions.

With contributions from the Green Climate Fund, the Asian Development Bank, and the provincial government of Sindh, Karachi will fuel a fleet of 200 buses with biomethane beginning in 2020. The city of 15 million people has been without a viable public transit system after the Karachi Transport Corporation folded about 20 years ago and buses imported from China running on compressed natural gas fell into disrepair, Reuters reported.

The new bus network is expected to service 320,000 passengers daily and reduce emissions by 2.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over a 30-year period, according to the designers of the programme. The 30-kilometre route of the Green Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network will be within easy reach of 1.5 million residents and include renovated sidewalks, cycle lanes, and 25 new bus stations.

karachi buses buffalo dung, the venture magazine

Karachi, Pakistan – April 19, 2016: A large numbers of vehicles stuck in traffic jam at National Highway road due to protest demonstration of government teachers against non-payment of their dues salaries at Malir Kala Board area in Karachi.

There are roughly 400,000 water buffaloes in Karachi, and the BRT will keep 3,200 tonnes of manure out of the ocean daily. The dung will instead be converted at a biogas plant. The project will also save the fresh water that is currently used to wash the dung into the ocean. The BRT could set an example for Pakistan’s other large cities, but there are concerns that the buses will go into disrepair as the previous fleet did. The project is expected to cost $820 million.

If the programme proves successful, it could go a long way toward improving quality of life in Pakistan, where 22 per cent of deaths can be attributed to air pollution. Karachi had fewer than 10 days with air quality rated as good in 2018.