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Ola, OLX and Uber up their act for a cleaner environment



Chaitanya Gudipaty
moneycontrol.com

Several companies are sensitising customers about carbon footprint reduction and startups in India’s markets too are taking steps to make way for a cleaner and greener future. Ride-sharing and online classifieds portals like Ola, Uber, and OLX say the services they offer have helped reduce carbon emissions by approximately 33.1 metric lakh tonnes in the past 18 months.

Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released due to human activities such as using cars, production of goods and manufacturing.


For example: When you drive a car, its engine burns fuel which in turn releases a certain amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere depending on the distance travelled and fuel consumed. Carbon emission is one of the prime contributors to global warming. According to industry estimates, production of a laptop or a computer leaves behind 300-400 kilograms worth CO2 in the atmosphere.

According to OLX India, transactions on the used goods marketplace from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016, have directly curbed carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) worth 3.3 million tonnes (33 lakh metric tonnes).   


“We believe in the reuse-reduce-resell philosophy. Our focus right now is on educating the user about the benefits of reuse-reduce-resell as that’s the need of the hour in order to bring about a habit change,” OLX India Chief Executive Officer Amarjit Singh Batra told moneycontrol.com.


“That (3.3 metric tonnes) is equivalent to the CO2 emissions that 132 million trees can absorb annually. It is also 6.25 times the emissions replaced by the Delhi Metro in a year,” he said.


Batra said such transactions make the planet “a little bit cleaner and greener”. “Just encouraging people to use their products more judiciously and to be more open to selling and buying unused goods could bring about a big change,” he added.


Meanwhile, cab aggregators too aren’t behind in jumping onto the cleaner-greener Earth bandwagon. 


UberPOOL riders in India have shared 12 million miles, which translates to over 8 lakh litres of fuel saved, and a cut of 2,128 metric tonnes in CO2 emissions.

The US-based cab aggregator, which launched the ride-sharing service in India last September, said that UberPOOL contributes to about 30 percent and 20 percent of its overall trips in Delhi and Bangalore, respectively. Over 1.5 lakh of its users opt for UberPOOL every week, it said.


“India is still a nascent market for ride-sharing/car-pooling. However, our aim is to encourage more and more people into fewer cars and take this trend to as many cities as we can, to do our bit of reducing CO2 emissions, pollution and congestion over time,” Apurva Dalal — Head of Engineering — Uber India, told moneycontrol.com.


The Numberspeak

Uber’s counterpart Ola said its ride-sharing platform Ola Share has helped save several million car rides and more than 5 lakh litres of fuel since its launch in October 2015. The company says Ola Share has prevented emission of over 48 lakh kilograms (4,800 metric tonnes) of CO2 pan India.


Other operators such as Shuttl and BlaBlaCar said they’re pitching in to help reduce carbon footprint.


Shuttl co-founder Amit Singh told moneycontrol.com: “We have contributed towards reduction of approximately 4,000 (metric) tonnes of CO2 emission from the 2 million-plus rides that commuters have taken till date.” 


The app-based office bus service provider from Delhi, which started operations in April 2015, is also converting its fleet in Gurgaon and Faridabad to CNG in a bid to reduce carbon footprint.


BlaBlacar has plied over 145 million kilometres in trips through its long-distance ride-sharing platform. “This amounts to a CO2 emission reduction of 5,500 (metric) tonnes. It would take 1,000 hectares of forest over a year to absorb this amount of CO2, Raghav Gupta, India Country Manager for BlaBlaCar told moneycontrol.com.


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