Feb. 16 - A Nigerian company is bringing electricity to small communities for the first time, by turning their garbage into biogas. Midori Environmental Solutions says biogas is an affordable, renewable solution in communities where mainstream electricity is either too expensive or out of reach. Sharon Reich has more.
In parts of Lagos, Nigeria, electricity is in short supply. (Natsot) But this community is slowly seeing the light, with some outside help. Local company , Midori Environmental Solutions is teaching villagers how to turn their rubbish into biogas, a renewable form of energy. Midori's Olumide Thompson says the technology is tailor-made for developing communities. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLUMIDE THOMPSON, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, MIDORI ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS SAYING: "The idea of what we're doing here is to show them how they can independently develop themselves, develop the environment which they are in and also provide a means of growing economically." And there are waste-management benefits as well. Villagers collect their discarded fruit, vegetable and fish and bring them to a processing plant. The waste is ground into a sludge, that is then poured into a bio-digester to produce the gas. That gas can be used for cooking or powering generators to produce electricity. Midori is working on the power lines so that they can pump electricity to residents throughout the village. Community leader Salina Kareem, says the new initiative has lightened spirits and brought relief to people in the area. (SOUNDBITE) (Yoruba) SALINA KAREEM, COMMUNITY LEADER, EBUTE-LEKKI, SAYING: "When we saw it, we were very happy and we thank God for those people that did it for us. We are happy because we know this will bring lots of development into our community." With 1400 kilos of waste collected each week, the biogas plant is expected to generate enough power to service the community of about 1000 people. With assistance from the United Nations Development Project, more than 60 thousand dollars have been invested so far. Four other communities nearby are also running on waste generated electricity and Midori say they have plans to eventually help half of the nation turn waste into wattage.