Proper waste management in Sri Lanka improves cooking and gardeningPublished: Jul 14, 2016 Reading time: 2 minutes
Sri Lanka is a popular summer tourist destination. And that should come as no surprise. In the Sinharaja national park, for instance, visitors will find the Boulder Garden Resort in a cave complex. This eight room hotel, run by fifteen employees, offers a calm and quiet refuge in the heart of Sri Lankan nature. However, this beautiful place hidden inside ancient caves poses challenges to the managers as well. Waste and how to dispose of it is one of them.
Biogas plant – an effective solution
The same issue arose in a small hotel in the Udawalawe area. “I started a restaurant in 2004 and later added rooms and began to offer accommodation. I soon realised, however, that I had a serious problem – large amounts of waste,” explains hotel owner KJ Hapuarachchi. “During the season we would produce between 25 and 30 kilograms of waste.” Luckily there’s an effective and sustainable solution – biogas plants.
A biogas plant is an underground unit where decomposing food waste or dung release a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide used as a source of energy. The process also produces manure sludge, a highly effective alternative to chemical fertilizers. With the support of the European Commission and thanks to Czech people who donated to the Real Aid fundraising campaign, People in Need has been able to work with the local Janathakshan organization on developing the biogas sector in Sri Lanka since 2011.
Gas for cooking, compost, and lightbulbs
While the new biogas plant in Udawalawe mainly produces high-quality compost used by Mr. Hapuarachchi to grow papaya trees, the Sinharaja national park found an even more unique application. The Boulder Garden resort management built a 2.5 m3 biogas plant that can process 5 to 10 kg of waste each day. The energy produced is then used to power dim lightbulbs illuminating the hotel premises. These are extremely important for maintaining suitable conditions for the surrounding nature as they don’t bother the resident birds or other animals.
Biogas for the households
People in Need’s programme for biogas plant development in Sri Lanka helps hotels but mainly supports private households. Thanks to biogas, households can effectively solve their waste disposal issues, get their energy from a clean source, and don’t have to cut down trees, buy firewood or liquefied petroleum gas. The fertilizer created by this process also helps increase their production of home-grown produce.