Every year hundreds of biogas are installed in the project areas. The system is simple and cheap, virtually unbreakable. Each installation saves 1 tree every month!
There are 2 options: in plastic or in concrete. The plastic option is very low cost (75$) compared to the concrete one (450$ or more). The problem with the plastic systems is rats. Also in Cambodia the animals are usually let free, and the plastic does not resist when a cow or a pig falls over!
All over the world, waste management has become an acute problem. Around some of the big cities in Vietnam there are sophisticated, big and expensive factories. But in the rural areas one lacks the capital, and waste cannot be carried over long distances. As a consequence in many places we see wild, illegal dumping of waste. Often they are let burn at low temperatures, thus generating dangerous gases like dioxine etc.
Thiên Chí has been requested by the local authorities to address the problem. It then embarked into experimenting waste recycling. The first step is manual, then the waste in left for decomposition, finally it goes through a machine sorting various sorts of waste. Plastic accounts for about 20%: it is put aside and sold. Pipes, ropes, bags are made of it.
Organic waste (50%) is mixed with agriculture residues. They are grounded and sold to local farmers as compost. What cannot be recycled is buried: the volume is about 50% of the original waste, brought in by trucks every day.
The program is financially sustainable thanks to a small local subsidy: the local population pays for the collection of their waste. This low cost model is thus well adapted to the conditions of poor rural districts. 10 m3 are treated every day, and 10 jobs have been created.
Another way is of course to treat the waste at the farm level. waste from agriculture and from the kitchen, cow dung, litter from the pig stal and chicken coop are all excellent for quality compost. It is free and thus more and more farmers have adopted the technique.
A comprehensive approach
All projects being in relatively remote rural areas, the environment and agriculture programs are obvously very much connected. The Good Agricultural Practices are one major approach: instead of stinking paddy fields because of the dangerous doses of chemicals, we promote compost. Where biogas is too expensive, we promote the dry biological litter, which in turn produces compost. For vegetables: a protective net boosts production and reduces diseases, thus again less chemicals.
In schools the children take care of the cleanliness of the playground, dustbins are installed. They use proper latrines. To all we relay the message: reduce the plastics, save the bottles!