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Biogas’ contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Waste Management

UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

How biogas contributes to the above goals:

Sanitation: As of 2015, of the 7.4 billion population of the world, 2.4 billion people still lack basic sanitation. Anaerobic digestion of biosolids promotes a sanitary and hygienic environment by providing decentralised and local treatment of these wastes. This helps in the prevention of bacterial infections, diarrhoeal diseases like cholera, trachoma, schistosomiasis and hepatitis (UNICEF and WHO, 2015).

Sludge stabilisation: In the parts of the world where biosolids are collected and treated in waste water treatment plants, anaerobic digestion can be used to stabilise the sludge before being applied as fertilizer to agricultural land. Anaerobic digestion reduces the carbon loading of the water and hence makes the waste water less damaging for the aquatic bodies and life, if discharged. Digestion of solid organic waste and wastewater can make these treatment facilities self-sufficient in terms of economics as well as energy. Where the collection infrastructure is not available, small scale decentralised solutions of treatment are being developed and implemented.

Landfills: With ever reducing landfill space and the environmental threat it poses to adjoining soil and groundwater, diversion of organic matter from landfills not only offers a way to reduce emissions but is also a responsible waste management strategy. Proper management of organic waste is essential to prevent the spread of diseases like leptospirosis, plague, dengue fever and other bacterial and viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, flies, rodents, etc. (Rottier and Ince, 2003)and for improvement of the quality of air in landfill neighbourhoods.

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