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Mini biogas plants reducing dependence on firewood

Small raw-built biogas units are proving to be the best alternative to the firewood for some of the Thatta villagers who say these mini biogas plants have not only reduced their dependence on firewood but they are also getting quality organic manure for their farmlands.

Built and installed by WWF-Pakistan, these 150 biogas units of six cubic metres each have been providing clean cooking solutions in the villages of Thatta which are not connected to the country’s natural gas network and people using them are extremely excited about these magical structures.

“Now my wife and daughters prepare meals in their (makeshift) kitchen as quickly as in any modern kitchen. The gas is like natural gas and unlike firewood it does not produce any harmful smoke, which is extremely dangerous for health,” said Wahid Dino, a resident of Allah Dino Khaskheli Goth in the outskirts of Thatta city.

During a visit of some villages in the Tahtta district where WWF-Pakistan has installed biogas units, people said these were remarkable structures which did not require anything costly as the plant operates by putting cow or buffalo dung.

“A small biogas unit is a simple structure with an inlet from where cow or buffalo dung mixed with water is poured into a tank, usually underground, where bacteria act symbiotically and convert the organic matter into methane gas through anaerobic digestion,” Deputy Director General WWF-Pakistan Dr. Ejaz Ahmed told a group of visiting journalists.

He said over 2,000 biogas plants have been installed by their organisation in 13 districts of the country and people have been using them quite successfully and satisfactorily to cook food, while the byproduct of organic waste used in these plants also happens to be very useful organic fertilizer.

“Now instead of using urea fertilizer, the owners of biogas plants are using the manure produced by their biogas plants in their farmlands and the result of this cheap fertilizer is better than chemical fertilizers,” he claimed.

Dr. Ejaz claimed that WWF-Pakistan has also trained masons and locals to construct these biogas units locally and if more villagers were motivated and show interest in getting these plants, they could be constructed with little investment.

These biogas plants in rural areas of the country have vast social and environmental benefits as they reduce the dependence on firewood, provide free of cost gas for their households as well as cheap organic manure, besides help reduce production of carbon dioxide, he added.

During the visit to villages where biogas plants were installed, villagers having farmlands said their dependence on the costly urea fertilizer had decreased while the organic manure produced by the biogas plants was more effective and producing better yield.

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