ISLAMABAD, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The extreme weather conditions in Pakistan including this month's pre-monsoon rains, abrupt snowfall and melting of glaciers have already started taking a toll on the lives of the people.
To mitigate the adverse effects of the changing weather patterns in Pakistan, one of the 10 most vulnerable countries affected by climate change in the world, the Pakistani government is taking action.
The measures include massive tree plantations, a policy to start operations of electric vehicles, and shifting the energy load from fossil fuels to hydro and renewable energy.
"Karot Hydropower Plant, one of the major clean energy projects in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), is ready to provide clean electricity to Pakistan," said Muhammad Ali Mahmood, an assistant manager at the plant.
Located 55 km away from Islamabad, the project is constructed by China Three Gorges Corporation, with an installed capacity of 720,000 kilowatts, a total reservoir capacity of about 150 million cubic meters, and an average annual power generation of about 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours once put into operation.
The plant will reduce an equivalent of 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, and meet the power demand of about 5 million local population.
Pakistan has great potential for hydro energy, as the east Punjab province alone has five major rivers, but the potential was not tapped due to complicated mountainous terrain that needed a lot of investment and expertise to construct and operate a hydropower plant.
"CPEC opted to take the challenging task of building the power plant. It not only used cutting-edge technology, but also gave utmost importance to the safety of the employees during the construction phase and the protection of the environment to achieve 'no net loss' policy," Ali told Xinhua.
Calling the project an embodiment of China's technological excellence and its commitment to giving preference to health, safety and environmental project, Ali said that even during the labor-intensive construction phase of the project, the construction team ensured that neither human nor aquatic life was affected.
"Modern technology was used in the project to treat the construction site's wastewater, and the solid waste was disposed of properly. The major water resources of Punjab province remain clean despite the construction of a mega project," he added.
Talking about the project's role to meet Pakistan's electricity needs, Zhang Xiangjun, the chief safety engineer at the project, said the project will help Pakistan meet its electricity demand for domestic and industrial needs and have a positive impact on the country's power energy structure and reduction of power generation costs.
He said the project has actively fulfilled international responsibilities such as addressing climate change, with its ecological and environmental protection plans covering water quality, air quality, waste management, noise and vibration management, water and soil conservation and ecological restoration.
The project strictly implemented Pakistan's relevant environmental laws and regulations and the International Finance Corporation's environmental and social performance standards, said Zhang.
During a visit to the project last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the project would not only improve Pakistan's energy structure but also boost the country's sustainable development.
"The project shows the China-Pakistan friendship and iron brotherhood ... Pakistan should emulate the Chinese model of development," said the prime minister. ■