Farmers who irrigate with solar-powered pumps earn more than those who use typical diesel-run engines for cultivation, finds a study.
Moreover, with solar-powered irrigation farmlands get more water — as much as 9.72 percent — than as compared to the diesel-powered one.
The findings of the study titled "Does Renewable Energy Increase Farmers' Well-being? Evidence from Solar Irrigation Interventions in Bangladesh" were revealed on Monday in Dhaka. The Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) conducted the study on a total of 1,000 households in Dhaka, Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna, and Rangpur.
Of the total sample size, 500 households had solar-powered irrigation and the rest had diesel-powered watering mechanism.
The study showed that a farmer earned Tk2.25 lakh investing Tk31,785 for solar irrigation in Boro farming. The amount of earning stands at only Tk66,660 in diesel-powered irrigation with nearly the same investment.
Azreen Karim, co-researcher of the study and a research fellow at the BIDS, said, "Farmlands with solar irrigation received nearly 87.61 percent of water in Boro season while fields with diesel pumps received only 77.89 percent of water for irrigation."
"Moreover, solar-powered irrigation has less carbon emission," said the Dr Azreen.
Terming solar irrigation more cost-effective, Azreen Karim advocated for further improvement in irrigation options with renewable energies.
Currently, the country has 1,446 solar irrigation pumps. Those pumps have a combined generation capacity of 31 megawatts per hour, according to the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development (SREDA).
Two other papers were also presented at the session while Dr AK Enamul Haque, professor of the East-West University chaired the session. Dr Helal Ahammad, professor from the North South University and Sharmind Neelormi, associate professor of Jahangirnagar University were present there as discussants.
Findings of another study titled "Atmospheric Particulate Matter and Black Carbon in Dhaka City-A Contributor to Climate Change" were presented by BIDS Research Associate Mitali Parvin.
She said black carbon, responsible for respiratory diseases and premature deaths, has become a big threat to urban life.
The study was conducted on the ground level data of five spots in Dhaka city.
In her study, Mitali Parvin showed that the average black carbon concentration was 25 percent in the particulate matter of Dhaka city.
Mitali said that black carbon has a warming impact on climate, which is 460-1500 times stronger than that of carbon dioxide. This component of particulate matter is responsible for 18 percent of the planet's warming.
Inhalation of the component is associated with health issues including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, cancer and even birth defects, found the study.
In a recent survey of the BIDS, as much as 11 percent of the urban population was found infected with chronic diseases.
Black carbon can also affect the health of ecosystems including depositing on plant leaves, increasing their temperature, and changing rain patterns.
She however said around 80 percent of black carbon emissions could be reduced globally by following some policies in transport, household, industrial, and agriculture sectors.
In the transport sector, she emphasised the use of diesel particular filters for road and off-road vehicles and phasing out high-emitting diesel vehicles.