Using biogas! Saving health and environment
Using biogas! Saving health and environment
Being the youngest daughter-in-law of a large extended family of 11 people is a demanding role, as 26-year-old Bagwati Thapa knows only too well. She has the main responsibility for cooking food for all those hungry people. Fortunately, she enjoys cooking – that’s not the problem. In Nepal, being the cook also means being responsible for getting the firewood, and that IS a problem! For a family of this size, she needed to find at least four bundles (at 18 kg per bundle) of wood every week. The situation is worse during the monsoon season, when the firewood was wet and it was very difficult to get it to burn properly. A lot of smoke filled the small room where she worked, making her cough and her eyes sting. Sometimes the food was not ready in time, and the children would have to go to school after eating less nutritious snacks. During the hot season, working for so long over a hot fire was very difficult. 
One option that could avoid all these problems is “gobar gas” or biogas. UMN’s partner Nepal Abinash Social Service Organisation (NASSO) began a programme to help people to build domestic gobar gas units in this area. Bhagwati became aware of this, and was excited about the advantages of using gobar gas. She discussed the matter with her father-in-law, Nandaram Thapa. Once he understood the problems in the kitchen, Nandaram decided to install gobar gas, and visited NASSO to be clearer regarding the process. He went ahead with the project, and inaugurated his household’s gobar gas plant with a big ceremony. 
The Thapa family’s gobar gas plant connects the toilet tank of 8 cubic meters to the house. Bagwati also looks after two buffaloes, which provide her with milk as well as extra waste that produces fuel for the gobar gas stove. She says: “The smoke used to make me unwilling to be inside the kitchen, but after installing gobar gas, the face of whole kitchen is changed. It is easy and fast to cook with gobar gas without the problem of smoke. For me, gobar gas has become a solution tomany kitchen problems. I no longer have to collect fire wood from the forest. Now I have enough time to look after my children, and even my clothes do not get dirty and smoky while cooking. I don’t bother about the weather when it comes to cooking. The support of NASSO has made the lives of housewives like me much more efficient and convenient.”
Her father-in-law Nandaram Thapa says: “My neighbours said that I was out of my mind when I inaugurated the gobar gas with a big ceremony but today, after visiting our house, they understand why we did it. Being the head of the household, I used to worry about my family because the smoke was damaging to their health, and I was having to buy medicine every month. But the situation is changed now. My family has become free of these problems. There is nothing valuable than health.”

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