EXPERIENCES FROM SRI LANKA
Work on biogas in Sri Lanka dates back nearly two decades. Many
governmental and non-governmental organisations have been active in this
area at various periods of time. Many of these initiatives lacked sustainability as
they were implemented in isolation. Practical Action South Asia started its
project on developing and popularising biogas technology in 1996 by carrying
out a sample survey to find out the status of biogas technology in Sri Lanka and
to learn lessons from the past experiences. This phase was followed by a series
of new activities aimed at widespread popularisation of the technology.
Traditionally the biogas technology was looked at as a source of energy for the
rural population mainly for lighting, though it possessed several other benefits.
The Practical Action South Asia project recognised the need to look at the
biogas technology in an integrated manner to reap the multiple benefits, which
this technology offers. This paper summarises the experiences of the Practical
Action South Asia project particularly in relation to the integrated approach.
Various sources of energy are being utilised by the Sri Lankan population to
satisfy their energy needs. The three main sources of energy used in Sri Lanka
are Biomass, hydro and petroleum oil. It is estimated that the share of
biomass in satisfying country's energy needs accounts for 45%, with petroleum
and hydro accounting for 41% and 14% respectively. As shown in Figure 1,
household cooking account for the major use of biomass. With fuel wood
becoming increasingly expensive and also scarce in some parts of the country,
there is a need to look for alternative cooking fuel.
Sri Lanka's economy is still largely based on agriculture. In effect, nearly 75% of
the rural peasantry is engaged in this activity as their major occupation. One of
the major constraints for agricultural activities of farmers is the increasing cost
of fertiliser. In the recent past, the fertiliser factor has had both adverse
economic and political implications on the country as a whole as well as on
individual farmer families.
Today, solid waste is collected and disposed at a large number of unprotected
sites. The problem is most acute in the Colombo Metropolitan Area (CMA) and
in other major cities such as Dehiwala-Mt. Lavinia, Moratuwa, Kandy, Galle, etc.
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