The drive to take responsibility must come from within and should instead be a norm rather than a mandatory policy.
As our road to sustainability, we have completed our own offset project at Maya Universe Academy (MUA), Nepal. MUA is the only private school in rural Nepal that runs without any fees. Instead, parents volunteer twice every month as fees to the school. The school sets its vision in response to the failed public school system and the unaffordable price of private schools in Nepal. Instead of focusing on building just schools, Maya focuses on providing children with a better quality education system.
Indoor air pollution
Rural households in developing countries depend highly on firewood. Burning indoor firewood with little or no ventilation releases fine particulate matters (PM) and carbon monoxide (CO) due to the incomplete combustion of biomass fuels. This results in respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological health effects. Furthermore, there is proved evidence of the correlation between indoor air quality and respiratory infections including, pneumonia, cataracts, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and low birthweight are caused by using this form of energy. In Nepal, there exist quite a devastating situation of Indoor Air Quality leading to major impacts on children, especially women.
Why Maya Universe Academy?
Maya Universe Academy uses firewood on a daily basis to cook food for their students and teachers. Moreover, the firewood is also used for the poultry farm. Having acknowledged this, the best reasonable support system that we could provide was the installation of clean energy - Biogas. Before undergoing this project, thorough site research was carried out so as to decide appropriate alternatives to the project. This project has been carried out with support from Energy Efficiency Power Solution Pvt. Ltd., Nepal who mainly focuses on energy auditing in industries and renewable energy projects in Nepal.
Waste to Energy
Biogas is the generation of heat and energy via combustion of anaerobic digestion process. Biodegradable substances are broken down to make organic fertilizers and generate methane gas used for cooking. Generally, 60% methane and 40% CO2 are produced. By extracting methane from waste and using it to produce heat, it is thus ensured that the waste will not leech in an open environment. This reduces direct methane atmospheric emissions. Methane has a greenhouse gas heating factor which is 21 times higher than CO2. The biodegradable materials that have been used at the MUA are kitchen waste, human waste and animal waste. Waste therefore has been converted to a valuable form of energy. Furthermore, biogas also releases bio-slurry which can be used as organic fertilizers in agriculture. These are fine compost because of fermentation and added nutritional value.
Our main objective while carrying out this project was to :
- Provide affordable and clean energy
- Sustainable allocation of natural resources
- To reduce indoor pollution from the burning of firewood.
- To promote the use of organic fertilizer from the bio-slurry.
- Support in the sustainable development of the country as a whole.
Implementation of biogas will help MUA to reduce its cost extensively per annum as the school will not need to pay for firewood. This allows the school to divert this opportunity cost in upgrading other activities in the school. Amidst this, the project also contributes to varied Sustainable Developmental Goals, namely-
Good Health and Well being: Improvement in air quality compared to the use of traditional fuelwood.
Decent Work and Economic Growth: Opportunities created by the project to employ men and women.
Quality education: People trained in using biogas. Money saved for other educational activities.
Affordable and Clean energy: Access to affordable, reliable and renewable energy service.
Climate Action: The total amount of Greenhouse gas emissions reduced by the project in a year.
Responsible Consumption and Production: Amount of firewood replaced by the project.