Petroleum is natures gift all through our past and a life to our future. A century ago, petroleum – what we call oil, was just an obscure commodity; today it is almost as vital as water to human needs.
From the day of discovery of this vital resource, advancement is stumbling upon new heights and technology is improving as fast as a click. This progress was not carried up to result into harmful consequences or a potential threat to our future until recent times when we have witnessed what can happen when resources are exploited in a ruthless manner.
Modern day technology has allowed humans to develop new industries, all thanks to petroleum which has revived almost any economy where petroleum has been found.
The Land of barren desert, the UAE (United Arab Emirates), was a just a small inhabitation of fishermen community which today stands as an epic land of luxury, wonders of manmade possibilities and a top financial destination of the world. All this has been possible in UAE’s fate just because of petroleum, which allowed it to sell billions of barrels around the world and enrich their economy. Such marvels have been possible due to petroleum but no doubt, it’s not infinitely found on Earth. In fact, it is being used at such a high rate that it shall hardly last for the next few decades. This has to be taken as an alarm and necessary co-ordinated efforts should be made on the global scale. Today, we are driving almost every part of our life through petrol and other oil products but it is a tragic irony that each one of us is contributing in our so called comfortable ways to the depletion of fuels which means a threat to our future.
Conservation of Petroleum has to be taken far more than seriously now and its use must be minimized. The most important role has to be played by the youth. They are the ones who have the choice to accept something as right or wrong. If they take this challenge, they may be able to save their future generations enough fuel resources and hence, lead a sustainable development.
If we start indulging in conservation right from our day to day activities, we could be able to save more than enough resources. Walking up to nearby places, cycling to school or office, using public transport are just small keys to the main idea. We should give a major emphasis on alternative sources of energy. Some well known forms present around us are wind, solar and hydro energy. Wind energy can be useful near coastal, hilly or windy regions. Many countries including India have installed a considerable capacity of wind energy and are constantly expanding. This is a good sign of conservation of petroleum and must be encouraged in several other countries.
The most ideal source which is omnipresent throughout the world is Solar energy. India, for example, receives more than 3000 hours of sunshine throughout the year which is more than enough to meet the annual demand even in the year 2030. The cost to setup solar panels is one time and comparatively cheaper than the long lasting consequences of highly polluting fuels.
In the past few decades, nations have taken steps to reduce the dependence on oil and petroleum and thus increasing their energy expenditures presumably thinking that energy budgets are the only way to revive sustainable development. Development of nuclear power plants have served as a huge hazard to the mankind. Use of coal and firewood in thermo energy plants is simply adding up to the degradation of environment and ultimately to global warming. Such ideas have created more complications rather than solving it. Construction of huge dams can make substantial contributions to economic development in electricity deficient developing countries like India, but as in any large-scale electricity generating option, there are trade-offs. Reservoirs damage forests, farmland and wildlife habitats and uproot entire communities of indigenous people.
When we are to conserve oil and petroleum, it should be followed through ideal ways which do not simply solve one problem and create a new one. Our aim is to conserve these resources universally for the betterment of mankind and our future generations.
If we are to instigate conservation, industries have to be preferably our first approach. They contribute to the widest usage of petroleum and are responsible for the high consumption due to sophisticated production procedures which require lots of power and machinery. Industries basically use petroleum and its bi-products because of its good fuel nature and hence are a major reason why oil and petroleum are depleting.
Recent population explosion has served to be like a fuel to fire and has brought in the huge demands and needs of the people. Unplanned urbanization and industries to meet the demands of population has led to high depletion of petroleum resources.
If things have to be seen at a domestic level, then we can definitely contribute to make the world a better place by proper cooking practices, not falling on the beauty of oil drinking vehicles, using solar cookers, etc.
Biofuels are emerging to be a favorable choice in today’s world due to their easy production and environment friendly nature. For example, Biogas (comprising of methane and other constituent gases) has a huge potential to be produced in India and power all the domestic needs by replacing LPG.
After industries, airplanes and aviation represents the largest consumer of petroleum products. An effective and efficient way of conserving petroleum would be by developing hybrid aircrafts that consume minimal fuel and maximum distance. Refinements should be made to the operating procedures, which allow airplanes to follow routes with maximum efficiency.
Oil and petroleum conservation means their minimum yet more efficient use with regards to economic, social or environment costs and benefits resulting minimization of wastage and protection of environment. A very high priority is attached by the government to conservation of petroleum products in view of the need to reduce increasing gap between demand for and supply of oil and petroleum products.
If government is able to devise some friendly laws which could spark the idea of petroleum conservation amongst the citizens it would be the best solution possible. For example, an authority can be appointed to certify products/machinery and vehicles for their fuel usage efficiency. Certain standards could be implied and in case of non-standardized products, they could be barred from the market. Hence, this would reduce the use of petroleum to some extent and definitely help in conserving oil and petroleum from overuse, thus, a more eco-friendly world.
Another possibility for government is to enhance the railways. Diesel locomotives still run in India and consume a high amount of fuel. Apart from being inefficient, they are outdated and cause a lot of air pollution. If such trains are electrified or run on biofuels, our main idea of petroleum conservation can be positively carried out.
As citizens of India, we must know that 75% of crude oil is imported and substantial foreign exchange undergoes and puts much higher cost to our country. When we hear of regular oil price hikes, its a sign that the supply is not able to meet up the demands and such a situation strictly prevails a need of conservation. If we are able to conserve oil and petroleum, we can surely improve savings easily.
Raising awareness about conservation is most important, thus much is required in our own country. Awareness amongst the common masses has to take a new lead by allowing them to know the importance of conservation and how petroleum has to be used efficient form. This also implies on the rural areas of our country where a substantial use of diesel in tractors and water pumps is found. Farmers must be aware of certain tips that can help in saving diesel, for example, check for leakages in tractors and the engines must be turned off when the tractor is stopped. An estimated one drop per second leakage can waste around 2000 liters of diesel. Driving in correct gear is highly recommended since a wrong gear can put a high load on engine and cause a 30% increase in fuel consumption.
Conservation of petroleum can also be brought in awareness by declaring some day as an International Oil and Petroleum conservation day. This should allow the main idea to be promoted, commemorate and mobilize people to support and start conserving.
Traffic is a major problem for all of us, but the bigger problem is that of wastage of fuel at traffic signals and red lights.
Proper habits like turning off car engines at traffic signals and driving at speeds of 45–50 km/h, could help most countries to reduce their use of petroleum products by 20%. If some reliable sources are to be believed, fuel worth Rs. 994 cr per annum is being burnt at traffic signals due to idling of vehicles at red lights. Energy efficiency measures could reduce around 2% of India’s use of petroleum products, worth Rs. 4 Lakh Crores per annum and around Rs. 8000 of imports.
Population is becoming a major challenger to the idea of oil and petroleum conservation, if something has to take far more seriously; it has to be population control. In the past two centuries, population has tripled and increasing with no absolute limits. Such a scenario is simply increasing demands of food, services and products. All these have to be catered by oil and petroleum in one way or other. We may not have a hint that most of the products around us are manufactured using petroleum bi-products only. Be it cosmetics, artificial fibers, fertilizers, plastic, detergents and many other uncountable items. It must be taken into consideration that we should reduce our dependence on petroleum as much as possible due to the fact that it shall drain anytime soon.
Let us act before it is too late. Let us redeem our pledge to support the nation and help conserve oil and petroleum.
Any more delay will make our lives and the mother Earth beyond redemption. As responsible citizens and more likely ideal humans, it’s our duty to give back what we take from the nature. We have been ruthless throughout the time, it’s now the time to payback what we took. It’s time to return the nature to its previous glory and let the mother Earth prevail its triumph once again. Let’s not be greedy to tear apart lives from our future generations. Let’s be kind enough to undo what was wrong and stop from doing the avoidable.