Biogas blesses scores of rural women

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DHAKA, March 25, 2019 (BSS)- When it comes to the use of biogas, it is definitely a blessing for scores of rural housewives as its use adds immense benefits and helps reduce the consumption of wood as a fuel.

Through the use of biogas it is not only carbon emissions that are being reduced, it is also expected that there will be a substantial decrease in deforestation. Such environment-friendly cooking system leads to better health among women and children due to less smoke in kitchens, less time spending on collecting wood.

Ramiza Afroz, a rural housewife who lives in Gaibandha sadar upazila, is beset with a tough life. Her daily chores include growing vegetables in kitchen gardens, collecting fuelwood and preparing meals. Life is tough, but is some areas at least, things are getting better. Ramiza now seems very happy as she cooks using biogas instead of firewood.

Until not long ago Ramiza had to take the trouble of cooking meals in a smoke-filled kitchen where cow dung was s used as fuel. Now thanks to biogas plants in the district as Ramiza Afroz and other women in the area are able to cook meals without having to breathe in the harmful smoke, which used to cause them cough up-something they had to endure for many years.

Like Ramiza people of the area including her neighbours, who never thought of having gas for cooking purpose, are now using biogas for full domestic purposes.

Ramiza said it’s really unbelievable for us to cook by biogas. She said, “We, generally used firewood for cooking purpose and other domestic works in our daily life.” But the biogas has brought about a great change in their lifestyle.

They used to go sleep worrying about waking up early in the morning to fetch dry fuel wood so that they could prepare breakfast for our children before they go to school. But now with biogas connections in the kitchens they can sleep with peace of mind knowing that they can sleep longer and prepare meals in minutes. The biogas stoves are not relieving rural women of kitchen hazards, it is also casting a positive spell on their health and families.

Freed from the unpleasant, time-consuming and unhealthy tasks, now they have time to rest and bond with their children and family members.

Low-cost biogas, an alternative fuel for cooking purpose became popular among the people in different areas of the district. The multifaceted livelihood support project has helped improve the quality of life for hundreds of rural poor.

For the last couple of years biogas has been in use for cooking purpose and the slurry, the main effluent of the biogas plant, as organic fertilizer for boosting agriculture production.

Currently, around 31 rural families use biogas instead of firewood for cooking purpose.

Former municipality Mayor Md Shamsul Alam said biogas production in Gaibandha Municipality through combined waste management system is an epoch-making initiative of the organizations working for improvement of urban and rural environment.

The long-term project is being implemented jointly by Gaibandha Municipality, Practical Action, Bangladesh (PA,B) and Chhinnomul Mahila Samity from 2011, he added. He stressed the need for producing biogas from domestic wastes in a larger scale to eliminate energy problem and to check pollution.

A biogas plant can be set up spending Taka 10,000 at each farm house that would help protect arable fields in the country besides producing huge amount of compost fertilizer, said a survey.

The electricity produced from biogas would also meet the irrigation demand of the country, the survey revealed.

Biogas provides clean energy from organic wastes against a small labour input and it is a low cost process.

Most of the users expressed their satisfaction over the functioning of biogas plants as this alternative fuel at much cheaper price than firewood and any other fossil fuel.

Rokhsana Parveen, 50, a housewife of Banirajan area in the municipality area, has been using biogas for last three years. She cooks meals for her nine-member family twice a day. She said the price of firewood, kerosene and LPG cylinder has gone beyond her capacity.

“With biogas I feel comfortable, particularly because it does not cause me coughing, and does not pollute my kitchen room environment,” she said.

“Now we do not cook in smoke surrounding. Darkness has also gone away from our house,” said housewife Jahanara Begum of the same area.

Mahobul Islam, Senior Environment Officer of PA,B and also the Manager of ‘Waste to Biogas Project’, said hardly 25 per cent of the population in Bangladesh are enjoying access to the natural gas supply and more or less 75 percent are totally deprived of this service.

Aimed at overcoming the energy problem, he urged the government and private sector to give special emphasis on building large-capacity biogas plants throughout the country.

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