Five years ago our local partner Thiên Chí received the award from the World Bank for its innovative program to recycle waste. Thiên Chí is a Vietnamese NGO.
Today it is Anh Duong, a sister NGO of Thiên Chí, which has taken over the Mekong Plus in the Mekong delta which receives the same award* for its biogas promotion program! In just a few years Anh Duong has encouraged 505 farmers to install a biogas. But the system is so cheap and so easy to install that many farmers do not even bother to ask Anh Duong. This is another great satisfaction which proves the success of the approach: the villagers are convinced and do it all by themselves.
Biogas? It is well known the biggest poluters on the planet are the animals. Pigs reject large quantities of methane gas, which is 21 times more dangerous than CO2. A biogas collects the pig dung and let it ferment inside a long airtight tube, which soon produces methane gas. It then goes through a simple tube towards the kitchen where is easily connected to a cooker.
One wins thus 3 times: dangerous gas is burned and does not pollute anymore. The woman at the kitchen enjoys a cleaner and more comfortable place. No need to walk far to collect firewood. And we limit deforestation: one household consumes about 1 tree every month for firewood! In 15 years Mekong Plus has promoted a system which costs only 40 €, cooker included! This small investment is easily recovered within 6 to 9 months.
Of course Anh Duong does a lot more than this. The environment program is just one among a dozen others, from health, agriculture, microcredit, employment generation etc. For instance Anh Duong promotes the collection of plastic waste by school children. The schools organize competitions, and rewards the classes which have collected the largest volume of waste. It is then sold for recycling. Imagine the psychological impact in the villages.
Trinh HUYNH and Bernard KERVYN, 17th June 2010.
*220 candidates, 30 have been selected.