NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – Local aviation company Safarilink has launched a going green project to offset carbon footprint and become carbon neutral.
The project will involve planting 3,500 seedlings in the foothills of Mt Kenya this year at the cost of about Sh500 million.
Safarilink Aviation Managing Director John Buckley said on Tuesday that the environmental project will be undertaken in conjunction with the Bill Woodley Mount Kenya Trust and aims to compensate for the carbon dioxide emissions from the company’s aircraft, hence minimising its operational impact on the environment.
“The amount of carbon dioxide produced by our aircraft is linked to the hours flown and there are guidelines as to the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by a tree during this lifetime.
Accordingly it is relatively easy to calculate the approximate number of trees that are required to be planted each year to achieve a carbon neutral status,” said Buckley.
Later in the year, the aviation company hopes to offer tourists the opportunity to be carbon neutral for their flights to and from Kenya, by making a donation to fund the planting of additional trees.
Other eco-friendly projects under consideration by the company are a tree planting exercise in the Lamu area and the introduction of energy saving jikos to communities in the Maasai Mara, Samburu and Amboseli regions, where firewood is scarce.
Meanwhile, Buckley is predicting a difficult period for the aviation industry this year revealing that passenger traffic for the company has gone down by about 20% so far.
“Though this is an improvement from the tough period of the first half of last year, we are suffering again because of the economic global crunch,” he noted.
He however is predicting a turnaround for the industry beginning early next year peaking in 2010.
The company flies to 20 destinations around the country and an additional route to Kilimanjaro.