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Water Footprint, Carbon Footprint, Climate Change, Ethanol,Sustainibility, Sugarcane, Environment, GHGs, CO2



A huge flux Carbon dioxide is released during cultivation, production and byproduct disposal of sugarcane. Water and Carbon footprints are indicators that estimate the climate change impacts of cultivation activity, products, and services, which according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been related to issues of climate change (Nguyen, T.L.T et al. 2008). The water footprint (WFP) will uses an indicator of water consumption in the full production chain of sugar, ethanol and by products.  The water footprint includes three components. Green component is the amount of precipitation that is stored in the soil and consumed by crops during the growth stages by evapotranspiration. The blue component of water footprint is the amount of fresh water that is abstracted from surface and ground water used for irrigation as well as the amount of water used in processing the crop. The grey water footprint is the amount of water required to dilute pollutants to level of acceptability of state laws and standards. Carbon footprint (CFP) is typically calculated by estimating not just the CO2 emissions, but also emissions of other GHGs such as nitrous oxide and methane as well (L. Wang, et al. 2014 and Arjen Y. Hoekstra, et al. 2011).

What actions do you propose?

Pakistan is cultivating around 1 million hectares land for sugarcanes crop and it is the fifth in the world behind Brazil, China, Cuba, India and Thailand. Sugarcane is also utilized for non centrifuged sugar and seeding. Centrifugal sugarcane harvested is around two third of the total land. While sugar industry is one of the most water extensive industry and Pakistan is producing around 5.2 million tonnes of sugar product in world share. Ethanol is secondary product which is produced by molasses. Both at harvesting and production of sucrose (table sugar) and ethanol consuming huge amount of water. Consequently water scarcity and climate change became significant issues for creating a stable sustainability strategy.

  1. Cultivation of sugarcane and production of sucrose, ethanol and by products i.e, spent wash has greatly affected the climate as well as adding the GHGs in environment.
  2. Extensive water consumption in shape of blue water, green water and gray water increases water footprints and degrade both water and soil quality and deteriorate water quality as well quality.
  • Primary data on WFP and CFP is not available in this region of sub continent.
  • Studies have shown that non-judicious use of spent wash may adversely affect crop growth and soil properties by increasing soil salinity.
  • Near the sugar based industries, peoples are found with health issues i.e. respiration by inhaling floating particles of spent wash in the air through evaporation.
  • The farmers around distillery units use distillery spent wash as a source of nutrients for crop production without knowing the proper method of application.
  • The adverse effect of distillery spent wash on soil processes such as organic matter decomposition, nutrient mineralization, nitrogen fixation and sulphur oxidation may lead to reduced levels of plant nutrients in the soil and in the crop, which could ultimately affect the photosynthetic activity.

Who will take these actions?

Dr. Yasmin Nergis Incharge Environmental Research Center Bahria University Karachi Campus will head the proposed project

Mr. Mughal Sharif Environmental Research Center will act as supervisor

Mr. Naeem A. Mughal Director General Environmental Protection Agency Govt. of Sindh will act as a facilitator

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers and Sugar & Distillery Industries will also act as facilitators

Where will these actions be taken?

Sugarcane Farm Land and Sugar as well Distillery Industries in Province Sindh (Pakistan).



What are other key benefits?

The aims of this study to evaluate water footprint (WFP) and carbon footprint (CFP) of sugarcane cultivation, sucrose and bioethanol production from sugarcane in Pakistan. The major focus of the study is “cradle-to-gate” approach by evaluating all stages of product’s life cycle including feedstock cultivation, transportation, feedstock processing, ethanol conversion, and on-site waste management.


What are the proposal’s costs?


  • Literature Review (Journals, Magazines, Books): $ 5,000
  • Data collection from expected 300 respondents @ $ 50 per respondent: $5,000
  • GIS Mapping: $ 10,000
  • Gas Chromatography (GCMS): $ 50,000
  • Thermogravimetric Analyzer (TGA): $ 50,000
  • Software & Systems: $ 20,000
  • Ambient Air Quality Analyzer: $ 50,000
  • Weather Station: $ 10,000
  • Sampling and transportation expenses: $ 10,000
  • Contingency expenses: $ 5,000
  • Stationeries and printing: $ 5,000

Total Expected Budget estimate of the project (Lump Sum): US $ 220,000

Time line

Proposed Action Plane

Short Term (5-15 years)

1-Literature Review/Survey>>> Immediately after approval of project

2-Reconnaissance Surveys/Delineation of Zone>>> 6th Months to 3rd Year

3-Interpretation of Data/GIS mapping/Modelling>>>3rd year to 5th year

4-Recommendation/Action Plane>>>> 5th year to onward


Related proposals

Not find



Arjen Y. Hoekstra, et al., The Water Footprint Assessment Manual. Washington, DC, Earthscan, 2011.

Brenton, P., Edwards-Jones, G., Jensen, M.F., 2009. Carbon labelling and low income country exports: A review of the development issues. Development Policy Review 27, 243-265.

BSI, 2008b. Guide to PAS 2050. How to Assess the Carbon Footprint of Goods and Services. British Standards, London, UK.

FAO (2007) FERTISTAT. Food and Agriculture Organization. Rome, Italy.

Kasterine, A., Vanzetti, D., 2010. The effectiveness, efficiency and equity of market-based and voluntary measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the agri-food sector. In: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Trade and Environment Review 2009/2010, New York/Geneva.

McGregor, J., Vorley, B. (Eds.), 2006. Fair Miles? Weighing Environmental and Social Impacts of Fresh Produce Exports from sub-Saharan Africa to the UK. Summary. Fresh Insights No. 9. International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK.

Nguyen, T.L.T. & Gheewala, S.H. Int J Life Cycle Assess (2008) 13: 147. doi:10.1065/lca2007.06.343.

Plassmann, K. et al., Methodological complexities of product carbon footprinting: a sensitivity analysis of key variables in a developing country context, Environ. Sci. Policy (2010), doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2010.03.013

Sinden, G., 2009. The contribution of PAS 2050 to the evolution of international greenhouse gas emission standards. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 14, 195-203.

Wang, L, et al., "Economic and GHG emissions analyses for sugarcane ethanol in Brazil: Looking forward," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 40, no. 0, pp. 571-582, 2014.