The global CO2 emissions map

Local production, pooling in logistics, digitalisation and planting trees can be ways to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Jolly Lonappan of Saudi Abrasives tells OGN

Officials at Saudi Abrasives believe producing locally and consuming locally produced goods, in addition to other measures like digitalisation, pool sharing for logistics, and planting trees, are effective passive environment protection actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Jolly Lonappan, Managing Director, Saudi Abrasives Factory Company, tells OGN energy magazine that while active participation in environment protection is handled by the General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection, passive participation is something everyone can do to help the planet and protect the environment for generations to come.

"With initiatives, such as the Saudi government’s ‘Made in Saudi Arabia’ and Saudi Aramco’s ‘In-Kingdom Total Value Addition’ (iktva), the Kingdom has reaffirmed its commitment to environmental protection," he says.

He adds: "We cannot entirely avoid carbon dioxide emissions in our homes, as we cook using gas or firewood, or when we drive to work or hospitals. But we can avoid coal or diesel-fired power plants and go solar or wind-powered for electric power generation."


Helicopter seeding in a desert (AI generated)

A passive environment protection action is using locally made materials for local consumption and avoiding importing from a long distance.

"A product or material imported from Chicago, the US, for instance, passes through many hands until it reaches the end user in Saudi Arabia," says Lonappan.

"A 20-tonne material, for example, is first loaded onto a container in Chicago and then onto a trailer for transport to the nearest port, say Boston or New York. From the port, it is loaded onto a ship for Hamburg, Germany; loaded onto another ship bound for Jebel Ali, UAE; and then onto another ship for its final port destination in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. There, it is loaded onto a trailer to go to the buyer’s warehouse, and then again, the buyer sells the goods partially by using forklifts and small trucks to reach the end user. In the end, the shipment would have consumed 500 to 1,000 gallons of fuel in total from origin to destination."

Lonappan adds: "That is why Made in Saudi Arabia should be encouraged and enforced even if it costs 10 per cent more. The Saudi government and Aramco have taken the initiative of using locally produced products in all government projects, but this needs to be effectively enforced and monitored."

In a pivotal move towards sustainable practices, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has taken significant steps to allocate resources to low carbon solutions.

"This commitment serves as a cornerstone for Adnoc's comprehensive decarbonisation plan, aligning with its ambitious net-zero target by 2045," says Lonappan.

Waiting times at border crossings can be reduced

"This initiative not only underscores Adnoc's dedication to environmental responsibility but also resonates with the broader framework of the Abu Dhabi Climate Change Strategy and the UAE Net-Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative."

Adnoc's strategic approach involves a meticulous prioritisation strategy, placing a premium on sourcing materials first within UAE and subsequently within the Middle East.

"The rationale behind this approach is multi-faceted, with a primary focus on mitigating carbon emissions associated with the supply chain," says Lonappan.

"By prioritising local suppliers, Adnoc seeks to minimise the environmental footprint related to transportation, contributing significantly to its sustainability objectives."

Another passive environmental protection is going digital in all walks of life, such as purchase, medical consultation, or bank transactions.

"Let us take the case of issuing manual bank cheques as opposed to digital money transfers. The cheque will need collection by someone driving an average of 20 km, another 20 km for deposit, and then a wait for days for getting the payment.

"Considering tens of thousands of bank cheques issued in Saudi Arabia daily, that’s 5 per cent of road traffic just is for the collection and deposit of these cheques. By going digital, we save time and fuel, and avoid accidents," says Lonappan.

"It is high time to stop payments through bank cheques," he says.

Another application of digitalisation is having digital meetings wherever possible, and avoid traveling.

A diagram showing rain water harvesting

Lonappan also suggests a passive environmental protection action in transportation, adding that empty trailers can be utilised to share logistics by making hubs on the highways.

"Once, coming to Dammam from Riyadh, I counted 400 trailers returning empty. If we can utilise these empty trips, imagine the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that can be reduced," he says.

Another issue is the waiting time of trucks, trailers and cars at the King Fahd Causeway to cross over.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of cars wait for hours with their engines running. The waiting time can be reduced to a minute by introducing barcodes and QR codes, while at the same time saving thousands of litres of fuel and thereby reduce carbon dioxide emission.

Planting trees is another passive environmental protection action, says Lonappan, adding the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) by HRH Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia is a great initiative.

"We have sunlight and carbon dioxide in the desert. The only missing requirement is water. We can use water saved from the sewage treatment plants and utilise it to plant trees using drip irrigation. In addition, we can conserve rainwater and harvest it areas that get more rainfall and channelise it to big ponds."

Lonappan further suggests aerial seeding in the desert using helicopters in areas that get ample rainfall.

The same technique is being used by many countries like Australia and India.

"In Alice Springs, Australia, I learned that the desert has changed to a green area by seeding using airplanes. And in the Tamil Nadu state of India, Kumaraswami Kamaraj, the late Chief Minister, used the same method; thus, the name, Kamaraj trees," he says.

"Once the green ‘revolution’ starts, it will sustain by itself."

Lonappan concludes by saying that ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ needs to be encouraged for the protection of our environment and thereby our planet.