Prisons in the State which adopted a ‘go-green’ mantra, are likely to win carbon credits under United Nations’ (UN) Clean Development Mechanism, which incentivise agencies that cut down on greenhouse emissions.
By switching over completely to solar energy and introducing organic farming, planting trees and treating sewage, the Prison Department has saved 960 tonnes of carbon dioxide this year and will be entitled for `7 lakh, officials said. The project assumes significance as the state is eyeing top slots in the gross income from jails and per capita earnings of jail inmates in the national level.
Jail DGP Alexander Jacob told ‘Express’ that the Union Ministry of External Affairs will send the records regarding to this to UN officials soon.
“The department had mooted the idea in 2011. But we realised it this year. With the success of the solar project, the jail department is eligible for nearly 1,000 carbon credits. The department has saved 960 tonnes of carbon dioxide by introducing solar based cooking and other measures in the first attempt itself,” he said.
The UN launched the scheme under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for emission reduction projects as defined by the Kyoto Protocol. In these projects, the emission so reduced is converted to saleable credits known as Certified Emission Reductions (CER). Each CER certificate is equivalent to a tonne of carbon dioxide, which can be counted towards meeting Kyoto Protocol targets.
According to Prison Department officials, they are using solar energy for cooking in all 52 jails across the state and stopped relying on steam cooking and LPG cylinders.
Besides this, the authorities have planted as many as 40,000 trees in the jail premises. Biogas digesters were set up in the jails for treating the sewage water and recovering methane from it to generate biogas, used for cooking food.
By adopting organic farming, the prison authorities are applying natural farming techniques, avoiding the use of pesticides, urea and other chemical manures which in turn cuts down the methane release.
“With all these projects we are cutting down the carbon level to a great extend. Once these projects become full-fledged the department can earn a sum of `one million per year under carbon credit scheme,” said Alexander Jacob.
Recently, in the 163 acre compound of Nettukaltheri open jail, the department planted rubber, which would add to the carbon credits and help generate an income of `6 crore after seven years.