Zim airports lay out green plans

….more natural lighting for all new buildings

Moses Ziyambi

All new developments carried out on Zimbabwean airports will be responsive to set standards of environmental friendliness in order to help fight against climate change, the Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) has said.

Responding to questions from EnviroPress, ACZ development manager Engineer Shamiso Makova said matters of environmental protection were of great importance to the company in light of the debilitating effects of climate change.

“We take environmental protection seriously and we have taken many steps to contribute to that cause, which is a good cause. All the buildings that we are adding as part of the upgrades of the Robert Mugabe International Airport, for instance, will be able to harness more natural light. That is made possible by the use of glass on top and on the sides,” Makova said.

She said the runway and the terminal building at the same airport were now illuminated by LED lights which are more energy efficient.

“As part of the upgrades, we are now making use of LED lights which save energy. This means we are demanding less power from the national grid, and this helps to lessen the amount of coal that is burnt at Hwange to meet the nation’s electricity requirements.

“Going forward, we want to make sure that internal water heating requirements at all our airports are powered by solar energy generated at those airports. The harnessing of clean solar energy will help us reduce our reliance on the national grid and this ultimately yields immense benefit for the environment,” Makova said.

She also said the harvesting of solar power will be done using such ways as installing solar panels on carports at all airports.

“We are really committed to making a difference in this regard because we understand the agency of going green at a time when climate change is becoming an increasingly topical issue. There are many other ways we can make a contribution, and these are just some of them. There are really no limits to what we can do as the Airports Company of Zimbabwe,” she said.

Zimbabwe operates four international airports; Robert Mugabe (Harare), Joshua Nkomo (Bulawayo), Victoria Falls and Buffalo Range (Chiredzi) as well as other numerous domestic airstrips which are seldom used; making the country’s aviation sector one of the least polluters in the world.

The country has set a new target of 40 percent reduction in its carbon emissions by year 2030, and experts say the country can achieve the goal by greening such economic sectors as energy generation which at the moment is principally thermal and hydro-based.

This report was made possible through support from WAN-IFRA Media Freedom’s Strengthening African Media Programme: Climate Change and Environmental Reporting. Views expressed here do not belong to WAN-IFRA.