Shukri Begum is the matriarch of a household of eight. The fifty year old grandmother lives with her husband, son, daughter in law and three grandchildren. They live in the outskirts of Gazipur, in the middle of Tongi Industrial Area. The family has lived in a small two-room shack in Tongi for years.
Leading a healthy and safe life often becomes a challenge for such under privileged communities. Their house is near a municipality operated slaughterhouse, and an open canal runs in the vicinity. For many years, the lack of proper waste management in slaughterhouse created a lot of problems for this community. Often waste kept rotting in open areas, causing unbearable odour and insect infestation. Waste was often dumped in the canal, deteriorating the water quality and surrounding environment. Shukri Begum remembers this with great frustration, saying it was not a good environment for her grandchildren to grow up in.
In 2016, GIZ and Gazipur City Corporation began collaborating to change this scenario. Steps were taken to generate biogas from the slaughterhouse waste – thus creating a self-sustained waste management model. Construction of the modernised slaughterhouse and biogas plant was completed in 2017. Now the waste is managed properly, and never remains scattered here and there. The bad smell that used to hang over the air and the canal has also disappeared.
Along with some other nearby households, Shukri Begum’s family also expressed their willingness to receive the generated biogas for household cooking. Like most households in the cluster, before she used firewood to cook. Smoke from the open stove consistently filled the house, causing difficulty in breathing and fits of coughing. Purchasing the firewood at irregular price was also a hassle; she much prefers having a regular supply at fixed price. Simply rotating a dial to light the fire feels like nothing short of magic to Shukri. Is she satisfied with the new system? The family has been connected to the biogas supply line for a year, and are very happy with the service. From clearer air inside the house, to a cleaner surrounding around them, the biogas plant has greatly improved communal life for Shukri and her neighbours.