Role of ICT for Better Environment & smart cities



CO2 emission video (pls click)

I have a chance to participate in the ITU World Telecom 2014 in Doha discussing the role of ICT for better and healthy environment and how ICT help in transferring traditional cities to SMART CITIES & SMART SOCIETIES

Gedaref digital city organization (GDCO Sudan) is part of the Telecentre movement where more than 80.000 Telecentres, 76 national, 6o regional network in 52 countries using ICT for community development. We are winner of 7 information 4 development awards sharing our best practices with others

  The success of such a city to have healthy and better environment depends on residents, entrepreneurs and visitors. These three end users are actively involved in energy saving and implementation of new technologies. GDCO as one of the end users we believe ICT can be one of the best tools for better urban environment in different ways and  the better utilization of ICT in cities will help in converting traditional cities to smart (knowledge or digital) cities with smart and intelligent societies. The different uses of ICT for better environment will help in creating smart cities and good examples of uses of ICT are:-

1- harmonized & synchronized traffic light signals reduce the Traffic jam and traffic congestion thus reduce pollution

2- Controlling the Metro rail system 

3- ICT is a tool for controlling the lighting of the city

4- The ability to automatic alarms when the radiation level rises to certain levels.

5- ICT can help in delivering services to their citizens and reduce environmental footprint (CO2) and mange energy consumption,   

6- Water leaks and flood water can be easily detected through ICT networks 

7- In the near future electric and solar vehicles will help

8- Smart cities has the ability to use green or renewable energy  and help in converting trash to cash (recycling and solid waste land fill gas)

9- GPS (tom tom) devices helps in tracking the nearest roads and nearest parking area and direct you in fogs and rain  

The Carbon footprint

The carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted to support human activities, usually expressed in tons of CO2 emitted or reduced.

Using ICT or online conference and distance learning have the advantage of reducing the emitted CO2 but it limit the physical networking. A good example I participated in WSIS 2012 preparation meeting and there were  35 physical and remote  participants saved 17656 kg CO2,  29.111 $  and 118.856 km travel. I myself Saved 1308 kg CO2, 8720 km travel and 2000 $ for ticket and accommodation

This world telecom conference 2014 in Doha Qatar I added 668.13 Kg CO2 in an airplane travelling 4,506 Km from Khartoum and consuming 7,274 Kg of fuel for 180 passenger.

You can imagine how much CO2 emitted by expected 3500 participant  in the conference if you know participant coming from JFK USA travelling 21,526 Km (round trip) and the flight consuming 88,606 Kg of fuel for 363 passenger and each passenger will add 1,762.40 kg CO2

Another example is Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU India) has 3.5 million students in distance learning in 40 countries. you can imagine if this number is in one place how much CO2 will be emitted and how the roads will be congested and what will happen to the services required


Success stories

1-     Renewable energy

The use of renewable for power and heat generation has led to significant decrease in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Germany was one of the leading countries that developed and implemented renewable power generation, especially in onshore wind and solar photovoltaic.  California's electric utility companies are required to use renewable energy 50 MW or larger. They produced 33 % of their power by 2020 and the main source of renewable power will be solar energy. Iceland today generates 100% of its electricity with renewable: 75% of that from large hydro, and 25% from geothermal. 

2-      Recycle energy  

Recycling (which is compost and other biological treatment) is well practiced in Oslo the Norwegians city in changing trash, rubbish and garbage to cash. They divide household rubbish into three bags – blue for plastic to be recycled, green for food waste to make biogas and white for everything else that goes to the waste plant.  The city of Oslo can take 410,000 tons of waste a year and import 45,000 tons from household waste from Bristol and Leeds @ UK. 

3-     Solid waste and landfills 

Landfill gas utilization is a process of gathering, processing, and treating the methane gas emitted from decomposing garbage to produce (power) electricity, heat, fuels, pipeline-grade gas and various chemical compounds. There are 10 known power plants in Netherlands with a fuel type of Landfill Gas specified and they try it in Gedaref Sudan but it fail due to the fact that people cannot wait long for production and miss mange of the municipality to the project. 1 ton of degradable waste will produce about 13 m3 of landfill gas in the first year. In 40 years 1 ton of waste will generate 150 to 250 m3 of gas. The number of landfill gas projects, which convert the gas into power, went from 399 in 2005 to 519 in 2009 in the United Kingdom



1- ICT is not part of the culture and not priorities to many developing countries

2- The behavior of the three end users

3- Availability of affordable broadband with high speed and low cost and also Affordable mobiles with good capacities and features

4- Traffic congestion 

5- Limited budgets of cities specially in developing world

6- Availability of the main resources (water, energy, clean air) that make a city functional with a limited time 

7- Managing of sewage pipes networks 

8- By 2050 it is estimated that 50% of the world's population will live in cities, putting pressure on the transport network, the emergency services and the utilities that are already stretched to capacity.



1- Raising or increasing the awareness about the importance of ICT

2- Using portable Telecentre which have the ability to go deep in rural areas and the services move to people in those areas instead of people migrate or forced to be displaced to the cities looking for services and this will create a lot of jobs and new cities can be developed and decrease poverty

3- This will lower the population and congestion and Iam sure by 2050 instead of getting 50% of the people living in the cities there will be more than 50% living in new cities or rural areas and more than 10.000 new cities will be developed by 2040 as requested by UN.

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