What is Carbon Footprint?

There’s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren’t for our lungs there’d be no place to put it all.

~Robert Orben

Nowadays, the phrase “carbon footprint” is habitually used for the quantity of carbon (typically in tonnes) being released by an action or organisation. Greenhouse gases are emitted through transportation of people and goods, land clearance, and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods as well as materials, burning wood, constructing buildings, and providing various services.

On a realistic stage, the Ecological Footprint explains us how carbon emissions weigh against and interrelate with other elements of human demand, such as our pressure on food sources, the quantity of living resources required to make the goods we consume, and the amount of land we take out of production when we pave it over to build cities and roads. The carbon footprint is 54 percent of our overall Ecological Footprint and its fastest-growing constituent. Humanity’s carbon footprint has increased 11-fold since 1961. Decreasing our carbon footprint is the most essential step we can take to end overrun and exist in the resources of our world.

As per a research 1 kg of carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere when one travels 10 to 12 km by train or bus; 6 km by car; and 2.2 km by plane. Operating a computer for 32 hours also adds 1 kg of CO2 to the air, and so does the manufacture of 5 plastic bags or 2 plastic bottles. It may surprise many of us that production of one cheeseburger adds 3.1 kg of CO2. Food also contributes to the carbon footprint for example; the production of 1 kg beef adds 13.3 kg of carbon to the atmosphere where as the production of 1 kg strawberries only add 0.3 kg of carbon to the atmosphere.

As per the report of the World Resources Institute (WRI) figures the US added 5773 million tons of carbon dioxide in the year 2002 and India added 1106 million tons. Countries like Malta, Armenia, and Georgia added 3 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere the same year. The WRI report for 2006 shows the emissions figures are 12 to 15% higher than 2002 figures for all the countries. It is natural for layman to ask then what the acceptable limit of carbon footprint is. For a sustainable living the carbon footprint per person per year should be reduced to less than 2,000 kg in the few years’ time.

Urban areas that add a lot of carbon to the atmosphere can easily be turned into the greener areas by the use of Green Technology like use of green walls and green roofs to the existing and new buildings. The green walls and roofs reduce temperature and mitigate urban heat island effect apart from improving air quality and filtering airborne particles. It is high time the Green Technology is put to use to offset the carbon footprint as far as possible.





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