Malawi should consider investing into other sources of energy other than fossil fuels for a number of reasons; reliance on fossil fuels comes with a number of harmful effects to human wellbeing.
Fossils like petroleum and coal cause pollution of air that we breathe, the extraction of coal causes land degradation which is followed by erosion into rivers and lakes.They also substitute land that would have been used for Agriculture with open cast mines. Its use in generating energy is responsible for pollution of the atmosphere.
Petroleum, whose importation, heavily depends on forex, becomes scarce at times leaving Malawians without any alternatives needless to say their businesses remain at standstill. To avoid such situations to repeat themselves, Malawians should invest in other sources of energy such as green energy.
Green energy sources cause little or no harm to the environment. Of such are Biogas and Solar energy. Biogas is produced in digesters fed with biomass and managed to produce methane gas. Methane is a top of the list greenhouse gas that causes climate change if released into the atmosphere.
This is due to its ability to store large amount of heat that eventually cause gradual increase in temperature. However; Methane produced in these digesters can be used as fuel for cooking in gas stoves. These gas stoves produce carbon dioxide which is less harmful to the atmosphere and humans as compared to methane. Most of the Carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants for photosynthesis. This therefore, promotes is a sustainable source of energy as compared to fossils.
Solar on the other hand, transforms light energy into electrical energy. It has no harmful effects to the environment and humans. Solar panels connected to cells are placed at an angle at which they catch maximum sunlight. Energy is harvested and stored in the cells and is used for purposes similar to what coal energy does. For example; cooking, refrigeration and lighting. Therefore, solar energy can be used to substitute coal energy. However, this is limited to some measure as more panels are required to produce adequate amount of energy from solar.
If two major sustainable energy sources can do almost similar things that petroleum and coal can do, why continue spending more money and endangering our health through importing, and extracting, then burning fossil fuels? There can be a transition in the source of energy in Malawi. This does not necessarily mean shifting at once from conventional waysof generating energy such as burning coal as it is done in industries, and using diesel run generators, rather, use sustainable energy for the purposes that it can ably provide such as; cooking, lighting and refrigeration.
The process of producing adequate energy from digesters and solar panels involves more resources, and money such that coming up with such projects to reach out to a largest population can be costly than the government can possibly afford. This is why such developments should be personalized. That means every community and household working hard to afford basic energy produced locally from Biomass and Sun light; resources that are locally available. Using these affordable, and sustainable sources, communities and households can meet their energy needs at a possible cost.
However, such efforts without sensitization to the subjects on the use and sustainability of such energy sources can be futile. To be fruitful, such developments should be preceded with massive training and demonstrations to motivate communities and households to adopt the sources of energy production in question. The other challenge is that the development depends wholly on community and household financial strength. However, those who have seen it work with others should be motivated to work for it.
In conclusion, shifting from the use of fossils to green energy sources is viablein Malawi and can be implemented in both community and household levels. There should be massive training and sensitization preceding such developments in order to make them sustainable.