By Pham Cong Tuan, CWS Project Officer.
I met Mr. Xuyen while he was working in a rice field close to his house during my recent visit to Hung My commune. With a bright smile, Xuyen insisted that I drop by his home as he wanted to show me the biogas* tank that the family built because of CWS information-sharing and support.
Xuyen’s house in Rom village is typical for the Tay ethnic minority group, and his family size is, too –at just five members. The family living is earned by raising cattle and pigs, and it is because of the problem of managing the animal waste that CWS came to know Xuyen. In fact, he wanted help solving not just the bad smell in the house and the yard, but the health risks, which he came to understand, in listening to an education and biogas promotion session hosted by his commune’s Farmers’ Association and led by CWS.
Pulling me to the kitchen area, Xuyen excitedly showed me the gas stove with a strong blue fire. “It uses gas produced by the biogas tank from our animals’ waste! The gas is very stable, always available close at hand and it is very clean!”. Xuyen added that before having the biogas he was very tired of collecting firewood far in the forest, and he mentioned how firewood became wet during rainy season and was difficult to use and very smoky when it did catch fire. In seeing and hearing his happiness, I felt it too and was relieved for him that his life is easier now and that the family has a healthier living atmosphere too.
*Biogas tanks are placed underground to process decomposed organic waste, e.g., animal solid waste, by anaerobic bacteria to create gas that can be used for cooking, lighting, etc. It is an environmental-friendly way to save energy and promote sanitation. Biogas tanks can be brick squares or composite spheres, and they are suitable for families raising pigs and cattle. They are not inexpensive, however, so families must plan well to afford them.
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