Mahim Church to become carbon neutral; first religious place in India to do so

Mumbai: Mahim Church to become carbon neutral; first religious place in India to do so | YOF

St. Michael’s Church, known as Mahim Church, one of the oldest places of worship in Mumbai, is on its way to becoming carbon neutral and the first church in India to do so.

Carbon neutrality involves calculating the carbon footprint of the church and finding ways to make that footprint zero to reduce global warming.

Initiated in 2018, St Michaels Church had incorporated six environmental initiatives into its operations – solar panels, solar water heaters, energy efficient lights and fans, composting of organic waste, biogas from flower waste and greening of the church area. ‘church.

Mahim Church’s decision to go carbon neutral is significant given Mumbai’s Climate Action Plan (MCAP) to achieve neutrality by 2050, twenty years ahead of India. MCAP has the backing of the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and was released in March 2022.

The church’s carbon footprint for 2021 has been calculated at 44 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. “The figure is a small amount by global standards, but our efforts to reduce this figure to zero is a big step,” the father noted. Lancy Pinto, parish priest of the Saint-Michel church.

The calculation was made by Dr. Emmanuel D’Silva, an environmental scientist, formerly at the World Bank and independently verified by Zenith Energy Services of Hyderabad, which specializes in climate services.

“While electricity use contributed 86% of emissions, the transportation footprint was only 11% because most church workers lived nearby and walked to work,” explained Dr. D’Silva.

The church had solar panels installed in 2019, which significantly reduced electricity consumption. “Switching to solar power is one of the best decisions one can make as Mumbai has one of the highest electricity tariffs in the country,” says Dr D’Silva, who served as an advisor for settling in the church and also in his housing company in Mahim. .

“The construction of a 20 kilowatt-hour solar array has significantly reduced the church’s electricity bill and reduced the carbon footprint by 15 tonnes per year,” says Oswald Rodrigues, Green Project Supervisor at St Michael’s Church. .

The church plans to increase its solar capacity by an additional 10 or 20 kilowatts per hour to achieve net zero emissions. The church and the adjoining school have a large terrace for the installation of solar panels.

The church plans to invest in community emissions reduction projects, such as planting trees, supporting conservation agriculture and biogas projects. Additionally, several companies have announced their own plans. Tata Consultancy Services and Indian Railways hope to become carbon neutral by 2030 and Reliance by 2035. Many more are expected to jump on the bandwagon to avert the climate change crisis.

“Maharashtra has recorded a sevenfold increase in drought events and a sixfold increase in the frequency of extreme floods over the past 50 years. St. Michael’s Church efforts are a small contribution to the state’s ambitious plan that will help cut India’s total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030 and reduce carbon intensity economy to less than 45% by the end of the decade, as promised at COP26,” said church parishioner Anthony Gomes.

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