Bangladesh set to receive carbon credits for composting

by Syful Islam | @youths1990 | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 14:14 GMT

Clean Development Mechanism project reduces methane emissions from rotting waste

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AlertNet) – Bangladesh is getting involved in carbon credit trading with the certification of a recycling plant that converts organic waste into compost.

“We collect some 100 tonnes of vegetable waste from two city markets daily and recycle it in our plant in the city’s suburbs through composting. If that waste had been dumped in the landfill it could have emitted huge (amounts of) methane gas,” explained Iftekhar Enayetullah, director of Waste Concern, a Bangladeshi social enterprise.

Waste Concern built and operates the recycling plant in Narayanganj, a suburb of Dhaka, in partnership with World Wide Recycling, a Dutch company. The plant, which began operations in November 2008, currently produces 15,000 tonnes of compost annually, which is sold inexpensively to rural farmers.

Certification of the plant under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is expected by the end of July. The Kyoto Protocol commits most industrialised nations to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, in part by investing in emissions-reduction projects in developing countries.

Under the CDM, projects receive credits that can be traded with industrialised countries, giving the richer countries credit toward their own emissions reduction goals and poorer countries cash.


Waste Concern will receive credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 9,500 tonnes a year. The company expects to trade its carbon credits with KfW, the German government’s development bank, and expects to receive $136,000 a year.

The money will be invested in dramatically expanding the plant’s processing capacity to 700 tonnes of waste per day.

Enayetullah said that expansion so far has been hampered by acute power shortages, which have compelled the company to use a diesel generator to run the plant, limiting the overall annual emissions reduction to 95 percent of the original target of 10,000 tonnes.

Waste Concern says the Dhaka plant has created employment for 800 people and reduced the city’s costs for waste removal.

According to the company, its composting model can be adapted for rural and urban areas, including slums, to process anything from three tonnes or more of organic waste daily.

The government and development agencies hope that such projects can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate environmental damage, and promote economic development.

The Asian Development bank plans to replicate the organic waste composting model in four other cities in Bangladesh, and the Department of the Environment is developing five similar projects in cities and municipalities.

Waste Concern is developing strategies for municipal solid waste management in several other Asian countries, including Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as in Africa.

Bangladesh’s state-run Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) also is close to receiving certification under the CDM for its solar power system for rural homes.

IDCOL assistant director Farzana Rahman said that the company has installed some 950,000 systems through its partner organizations across the country, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 220,000 tonnes annually.

A typical home system generates enough electricity from solar energy to power four lightbulbs, a television and a fan. Rahman said that an IDCOL biogas programme is also awaiting certification under the CDM.

Syful Islam is a journalist with The Financial Express newspaper in Dhaka. He can be reached at:

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