By wPOWER Hub Communications Globally, at least three billion people rely on solid fuels for cooking, causing serious environmental and health impacts that disproportionately affect women and children.
UN statistics indicate that in Kenya, at least 14,300 women die every year from inhaling the gases.
Burning these fuels on rudimentary stoves or three-stone fires creates a dangerous cocktail of pollutants that can kill.
Bamboo biomass energy has great potential to be an alternative for fossil fuel. It can be processed in various ways (thermal or biochemical conversion) to produce different energy products (charcoal, syngas and biofuels), which can be substitutions for existing fossil fuel products.
The Green Belt Movement in partnership with Waterstone (Norway) has established a bamboo biomass and entrepreneurship project aimed at promoting the planting of indigenous bamboo for: conservation, climate mitigation benefits, fuel source (firewood and charcoal) and economic opportunities through green businesses for and by local communities.
Speaking during the Sustainable Tree- Based Bio energy in Sub- Saharan Africa Workshop at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Samuel Mungai, a Project Officer at the Green Belt Movement said that ‘The opportunity for Bamboo as a source of biomass energy is immense and the biomass benefits of bamboo are impressive ‘.
The three-day workshop brought together policy makers from Africa and experts from around the world to draft an agenda that would influence energy planning across Africa to include firewood and charcoal in policies and plans.
GBM (Green Belt Movement) has allocated 5 acres of land for a pilot, in Murang’a, north of Nairobi in Kenya for the Bamboo Pilot Project. The organization has also trained local women in Maragua on how to make small bamboo products.
Bamboo products are used in their homes as well as for sale to community members. The products include: Simple sheds, Toilet structure, Sugar dishes, Kitchen utensils holders. Mashing stick (mwiko), Scooping spoon, Dinner spoons, folks, Soup spoons and teaspoons.
Facts about Bamboo
- Bamboo absorbs Carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere 3 to 4 times higher than many other trees.
- One bamboo tree generates plenty of natural oxygen sufficient for more than one human being’s daily requirement
- Every part of the bamboo is used to make varieties of products.
- Bamboo can replace the wood for all applications such as paper, flooring, furniture, charcoal, etc.
- Bamboo effectively cleans the water pollution of the septic tank discharge and factories effluent by its natural affinity for nitrogen, phosphorus and heavy metals.
- Bamboo enriches the soil naturally and prevents soil erosion.