NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22- National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) will now be able to monitor and control the amount of air pollutants that it releases as it enhances its efforts to conserve and protect the environment.
This follows an approval granted to the airline by the United Kingdom (UK) Environment Agency that will enable KQ to participate in the European Union Environmental Management Program, through a legally binding initiative known as European Union Environment Trading Scheme (EU-ETS).
Through the initiative, the carrier will therefore measure, manage and reduce its carbon emissions which have been identified as a major contributor to climate change.
“By securing approval of our first Carbon Emissions Management plan, Kenya Airways confirms its commitment and capability to addressing localized and global environmental issues including the challenge of climate change by first being able to accurately account for the Green House gases that our operations emit and investing in environmental sustainability programs within acceptable legal and voluntary frameworks,” said KQ Group Managing Director Titus Naikuni.
The European Union Environment Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) is a law passed by the EU Parliament that now includes and requires all airlines with operations to, from and within the EU, to develop carbon management solutions that will conserve the environment.
The EU-ETS Scheme has developed criteria that will see carbon emissions generated from the operations of each affected airline accounted for and capped at a given limit beyond which, conscious efforts must be taken to mitigate further environmental risks.
The EU-ETS Scheme requires that a percentage of total carbon emissions must be retired by participating airlines and in the event that carbon emissions generated exceed the capped limit then the affected airline must purchase carbon credits from the market or offset same quantities through investment in UN-Certified Cleaner Development Projects.
Such projects must demonstrate real significance in contributing to environmental sustainability and addressing environmental challenges.
Recently, Kenya Airways signed a ground breaking agreement, with International Air Transport Association (IATA), to spearhead the global carbon offset trading scheme designed to help fund global environmental projects.
This has subsequently seen the airline, invest in a number of projects designed to minimize environmental pollution, including reducing noise, recycling waste products, and other environmentally friendly endeavors that will reduce the real dangers of global warming.
Other ongoing initiatives that KQ is implementing to reduce carbon emissions include, purchasing new ground handling equipment including electric Tow Tractors, which emit very minimal environmental pollutants; investment in a new aircraft fleet which are fuel efficient and will reduce carbon emissions.
Other measures include employing fuel saving operational techniques such as optimal flight level, continuous descent approach, and enhancing the Ngong Hills Ecosystem Restoration program, which is the airline’s key initiative to clean the ecosystem.