Waste: The biggest problem for the staff of the National Piggery Development Centre (NPDC) in Gelephu was the stench. It was so awful that staff sometimes skipped meals. But that was then.

They have now not only found a solution, but are reaping benefits from the source of the stench. They started a biogas plant and are having the last laugh. And it all started with a few searches on the World Wide Web by the programme director of the centre, Pema Sherab.

“We were all concerned with the pollution and did some search on the internet. We found out that pig manure was used to make biogas,” he said. They approached the Bhutan Biogas Project. It’s been about two months they started using the biogas to cook. “It would save us more than 30 LPG cylinders a year after,” Pema Sherab guesstimated.  The biogas is connected to 10 households and is the first plant fueled by pig manure in the country.

“If biogas had not been used I would have already been in the process of changing my second LPG cylinder,” he said. If the production is enough they will connect more homes, as it is a big hit in the small community.

Anima attendant, Nim Dem, is one of them. “I use electric appliances, but it is not reliable. Sometimes when the power goes off, we have to postpone our meal,” she said. Nim Dem had not bought a LPG run stove until the discovery. “I don’t have to worry about electricity fluctuation anymore,” Nim Dem said.

Another attendant, Phuntsho said he would not worry about refilling his LPG cylinders. “It used to be quite a hassle. We have to go and check if there is stock, and then look for a vehicle to change the cylinder. All this is over now.”

There are 700 pigs at the centre. The government and Bhutan Biogas Project funded the project.

Yeshey Dema, Tsirang