EDITORIAL: From waste to use

Biogas is an alternative to fossil fuel and can be utilized for energy needs. Energy from biomass can be produced by burning and converting it to produce ethanol and methanol which can be used as liquid fuel in engines and also through the fermentation of biomass so as to obtain gaseous fuel which is called biogas.

Biogas is generated by wastes like  animal excreta and also crop residues which can be converted into organic manures instead of using chemical fertilizers most of which have harmful effects.

It is very simple to convert biomass into organic manure by aerobic fermentation. Biogas is formed by a combination of methane and carbon dioxide and gases like hydrogen sulphide and nitrogen.  The use of biogas is old in this county and it is getting popularity for a couple of decades.

At the moment the country is facing a severe crisis of energy. Biogas plants in many parts of the country are already being used by many farmers in Nepal to meet their energy needs. Garbage and other degradable wastes can be decomposed to produce biogas. There is a lot of wastes being generated. Rotting vegetables can also be used as animal feed.

These days we see a lot of garbage being strewn in the urban areas of the country. We have failed to utilize much of garbage and wastes when we could easily benefit from their multiple uses. The Nepali-designed technology has been found to be very effective as it allows bacteria for fermentation that are already inside the stomach of cows. Furthermore, the gain is that biogas is a clean and safe gas.

It is high time more biogas plants were installed as they have multifarious benefits. The extensive use of fossil fuel is causing pollution in various forms and is also exacerbating the process of climate change. Since it is  easy to generate biogas more people should be encouraged to use it thus doing away with dependence on harmful fossil fuel.

Nepal is considered to be on the forefront of the use of biogas. As we are able to utilize the biomass to produce biogas and organic fertilizers, among other things, we could also solve the problem of deficit of energy and also discourage the use of chemical fertilizers. The government should continue to offer assistance to build more biogas plants.

As they are very inexpensive and easy to install farmers in particular would stand to benefit. Another advantage is that this gas would do away with the harmful effects of burning the fossil fuels in the kitchen to cook food, especially if they have poor ventilation.

Many Nepalis are facing various forms of respiratory diseases as they use fossil fuels for cooking. In order to best utilise the waste produced in the Kathmandu Valley the KMC is all set to install a waste-to-energy equipment which will generate 14 KW of electricity, over 90 kg of gas, 300 kg of compost fertilizer and 13,500 litres of purified water from using the biomass.

The initiative taken by the KMC must be replicated in other municipalities that can also best utilise the waste products as the best resources for energy. More innovative methods of turning the wastes to use should also be learned from the experiences of other countries.

Unsafe pedestrians

The traffic police launch campaigns for or against one or the other traffic-related matter from time to time. There is nothing wrong in launching such campaigns, which are intended to raise traffic awareness among the public as well as the drivers and discourage the violations of traffic rules, minimize the road accidents, and make the movement of people and vehicles on the roads smooth and safe.

Now the metropolitan traffic police have intensified action against motorists who stop their vehicles at the zebra crossings.

The Kathmandu Valley is reported to have over 1,000 zebra crossings and the police records say that the accidents on zebra-crossings are increasing, with at least two persons killed or injured every month.

Then one can easily imagine what the level of safety is for the pedestrians at other points of the roads. Many drivers do not care to follow the traffic rules when the cops are not around. Many of them are also seen to speed up their vehicles when they approach zebra-crossings. Zebra-crossings are the pedestrians’ space where all vehicles must stop for them to cross the roads first.

This kind of police action should be conducted round the year.