Lankhu Community: Using Multi-beneficial Biogas Plant

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Kathmandu Feb 28: Shreejana Shrestha, a resident of Lankhu Community in Bharapur Municipality, today claims proudly that her community is different from other communities in the sense that residents of her community don't discharge their toilet waste openly to cause environment degradation. But it is being used in generating biogas. She along with her community members has built toilets of their own to end the open defecation as well. It has changed the perception of their neighbour communities who used to discriminate and blame them for causing environment pollution. The community constructed a biogas plant with support of UNHABITAT Water for Asian Cities Programme Nepal, WaterAid Nepal and LUMANTI. The plant produces biogas mainly from toilet waste and other degradable waste. The community people have now started using gas stoves that replaced their traditional cooking stoves. "These gas stoves are more convenient as it is easy to operate," Sangeeta Bika, another inhabitant of Lankhu Community said.Since these gas stoves emit less smoke, it has improved in-house environment and reduced health problem such as eye shore and other respiratory disorders. It has also minimized community dependency on fuel wood. According to Bika, the biogas plant has also saved her time and money, which she had to spend in managing fuel wood. She can now fulfill other daily necessities with the time and money she saved. The community has formed a biogas users' committee to take care of the constructed biogas plant that has managed gas supply to 17 households and a local restaurant in Lankhu. Currently, the biogas is being supplied for 6 hours twice a day. The community people constructed 17 private toilets and connected it with the digester of the biogas plant. The plant produces gas with this toilet waste. "There was only one public toilet in Lankhu, which was insufficient for community population. After toilet construction, every household have toilet of their own. Members of Lankhu communty use their own toilets. An open defecation is no more visible around, which has reduced environmental pollution," Heera Thapa, President of Biogas User Committee uttered. The committee has provided job for three community members for the collection of degradable waste and its refining. They collect waste from around 300 households nearby Lankhu, which has also supported Lankhu and other communities in managing their solid waste to some extent and contributed in improving environmental sanitation.Thus collected waste is also used in biogas generation The committee earns NRs. 3600/- every month by collecting NRs. 200/- from each gas user. Hence generated amount is then used for operation and maintenance of the plant. Since the sludge excreted after gas production has been used as compost in farmland, the biogas plant has also become a blessing for these community members that has helped them increase agricultural productivity. The initiative of Lankhu community, even though seems simple, is praiseworthy in reality. In addition to benefiting the Lankhu and neighbour communities, it is environment friendly in the present context of climate change as it is not dependent on fuel wood and emits less green house gas.