Women in the Philippines are getting free electricity to do tasks like ironing from an unlikely place -- one of Manilla's largest landfills.
Landfills, in addition to being environmental wastelands, also generate huge amounts of methane gas as a result of microbes breaking down organic matter left to rot in the dumps.
The Philippines is the first county to be able to take advantage of a United Nations program aimed tacking climate change by converting the world's landfill-produced methane into usable electricity.
"It really helps because it cuts down on our electricity bills... sometimes we use the savings to buy food," said Teresita Mabignay, who does her ironing at the Payatas landfill where her husband earns about $200 a month working security, the APF reported.
The free energy project is fueled by the U.N.'s Clean Development Mechanism, which allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to a meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
Jennifer Fernan Campos, president of the company behind the project, Pangea Green Energy Philippines, said greenhouse gases that are now being saved at Payatas landfill is the equivalent to taking 18,000 cars off Manila's roads
Campos said the Paytas landfill expanded its electricity output to one megawatt and recently began selling electricity directly on Manilla's grid.
However some critics say the model encourages the productions of waste and is not a good model for limiting our overall waste production.
"The only way to address the issue of methane generation from waste is to stop the rubbish going to the landfill in the first place," Greenpeace Philippines program manager Beau Baconguis said in the AFP report.
"Having such projects in place encourages the generation of waste, rather than eliminating it, because you need waste to run the facility."
While the U.N. program is geared towards developing countries, similar projects are already under way in America, such as the Puente Hills Landfill Gas-to-Energy Facility in Los Angeles, which produces close to 50-megawatts of electricity, enough to power 70,000 homes.
According to the California Energy Commission, the state has had 56 landfill gas recovery facilities since 1995, which have an installed capacity of about 246 megawatts.
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