Le, a 53-year-old farmer, is among the 7 million living in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital and its second most populous city. The city is filled with diesel-powered motorcycles, some 5 million, choking the air and causing traffic jams.
But Hanoi is changing. In addition to an ambitious plan to ban motorbikes by 2030, Hanoi is one of 63 provinces and cities in the country that is adopting biogas for cooking. Le used her own savings and borrowed money from relatives to build the biodigesters, which are part of a programme funded by the Dutch government and Energising Development, a partnership financed by six countries, that uses a localized technology that originated from China.
SNV began helping Vietnam build biogas digesters, which store animal waste, in people’s backyards in 2003. As of June this year, the country had approximately 170,000 biodigesters, according to Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, a programme adviser at SNV in Vietnam.
The biodigesters, at an average size of 12 square meters (130 square feet), are helping Vietnam reduce 1.3 million tons of carbon emissions every year.