Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Sri Lanka

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The Human and Environment Development Organization (HEDO) is an NGO based in Sri Lanka that focuses on minimizing CO2 emissions which are produced during conventional rubber production process. In particular, HEDO established five energy efficient rubber drying houses fueled by waste sawdust. The new procedure drastically reduced the vast amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the transformation process and enabled the smallholders to produce a high-quality rubber sheet, resulting in extra income. The project also utilized rubber wastewater as a source of bio-gas, converting this environmental hazard into profit.

Decent Work and Economic Growth , Responsible Consumption and Production , Life on Land , Life below Water , Climate Action

Rubber is the second most important plantation crop in Sri Lanka and rubber plantations make up about 12% of the forest cover of the island. Despite its importance in creating employment, the rubber industry is often associated with a number of environmental problems, mainly greenhouse emissions, logging for firewood, and water pollution. In particular, waste water emitted from conventional small scale rubber smokehouses emit greenhouse gases and pollute nearby water bodies and open land. Needless to say, this is a serious threat to the area's biodiversity.

The innovative model for the rubber-drying houses was developed based on a project initiated by the Rubber Research Department of Sri Lanka. To prevent logging deforestation, HEDO introduced the energy-efficient smokehouses operated by sawdust waste instead of firewood. The five smokehouses were constructed far from river banks or open-burning areas.

The use of sawdust reduced the use of firewood coming from the small forest patches in the surrounding areas. As a result, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the production process by the combustion of firewood was drastically reduced. Furthermore, these efficient drying-houses enabled the beneficiaries to obtain higher quality rubber sheets which resulted in higher incomes.

The project is supported by the United Nations Development Programme Global Environment Facility's Small Grants Programme. The innovative technology resulted in decreased CO2 emissions and water pollution thanks to efficient control and reuse. This model is now widely accepted and used by the community due to its energy efficiency and high-quality performance. Moreover, health improvements have been achieved as the new smoke-houses permit rubber trays to be taken out, diminishing the amount of toxic fumes inhaled by workers.

Due to the success of the initiative, the project was scaled-up to the national level.

Sri Lanka

The project received the assistance and support from Rubber Department of Kegalle district and Rubber Research Institute to introduce the latest technology related to the industry.

Human and Environment Development Organization (HEDO)

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