If you haven’t taken a rickshaw ride in Karahi, you are really missing a terrific (and terrifying) experience. For a virtual rickshaw ride, check this out:
As you may notice in the video, the rickshaw is really loud and, though you can’t see it here, it is really polluting. Most rickshaws burn tons of oil which sends not just oil and smoke into the air, but also large quantities of metallic particles (ash) which come from components of lubricant oil.
All that may be set to change now. Thanks to some governmet regulations and some other incentive schemes, it is expected that all gasoline powered (usually 2-stroke) rickshaws in Karachi will switch to CNG powered rickshaws. These CNG powered rickshaws create lots more nanoparticles in emissions, but at least the visible smoke (soot) and carbon monoxide and unburnt hydrocarbon emissions are lower. These engines are also extremely quiet and ggiven the price of CNG, they are also expected to be cheaper to operate. All in all, it is a positive step forward, though I am sure in a few years we will need to really worry about emissions control technologies on these rickshaws, especially if they ar enot maintained properly.
Here is the image of such a rickshaw recntly spotted in Karachi. Many thanks to Jamash of Karachi Metblogs for pointing this out: