Climate action: Turning waste into energy in Liberia
“There are tons of waste on the street and charcoal is being exported from Liberia. As a result, there is deforestation and it is affecting our climate. We all have a responsibility to do something about it” said Christine Tolbert Norman, the co-founder of the Isaac David School in Paynsville, during the launch of a state-of-the-art Home biogas system at the school this week.
The innovative process turns waste into cooking gas and fertilizer, as part of the project Implementing Waste to Energy Innovative Approaches in Greater Monrovia, Liberia, financed by the European Union.
Cities Alliance has recently installed 10 Home biogas units across Greater Monrovia. The ecofriendly low-cost technology includes an anaerobic digester made of biodegradable materials. It provides out of six hours of free, clean, cooking gas daily, and produces a nutrient-rich natural liquid fertilizer.
The one at the school in Paynsville is fed with waste from a bio toilet installed next to the digester and other organic waste produced at the school. The gas is reused in the kitchen, where meals are cooked for the pupils every day, and the fertilizer in the garden, where the students produce vegetables for the school but also to sell at the local market.
“This initiative is not just an ordinary project. It adds value to Paynesville, in an effort to make the city a sustainable one” said Stanley Zahn manager of Paynesville City Corporation. “It starts from our school: the students in science course can only read or see in the classroom; but now they can see the technology and innovation at work in our kitchen. This helps more and more young kids to develop their interest.”
The students are being trained to operate the system, which is also use as an opportunity to raise awareness on climate change and climate resilience. “Producing cooking gas out of waste is one of the ways to avoid the negative consequences of deforestation close to urban areas. Implementing the project in schools to teach such simple techniques is extremely important” said Ivan Borisavljevic, Head of Resilience at the EU Delegation to Liberia.
The Waste-to-Energy Project, an EU investment worth 1M USD, seeks to provide livelihood opportunities for vulnerable communities through innovation. This is part of the Cities Alliance broader approach to build resilience and raise awareness on climate change especially among young generations.