A silent revolution has taking place in the transport sector
in Bangladesh. The introduction of electric vehicles, the battery run
three-wheelers in the past few years brought about a sort of transport
revolution throughout the country. These battery run electric tricycles are now
extensively used for short distance travelling in Bangladesh. Locally these are
called easy bikes.
These vehicles can carry about five passengers including the
driver, these look somewhat like the traditional auto rickshaw but larger in
size. Earlier these were imported from China, now these are produced locally,
these vehicle costs about one hundred and twenty thousand takas which is less
than two thousand US dollars and run the whole day, charging of the batteries
are done at night.
It is believed that thousands of such vehicles now ply
throughout the country, mainly through the towns and in the suburban areas. Some
estimate the figures at a million. However, there is no proper statistics
available, as these vehicles are not registered with the governmental transport
department . In Dhaka city this vehicle is not allowed in the main roads, but
do ply in the small streets, lanes and by lanes, commuting passengers.
This was not a government initiative nor was this welcomed
by the government. The enthusiastic business community of the transport sector
promoted this transport system throughout the country. The government does not
encourage such vehicles as charging batteries of these vehicles throughout the
country had put extra pressure in the total power generation and the government
is finding it difficult to coup up with the need of extra power generation,
causing energy crisis.
However, the environmental impact has not been taken into
consideration. Surely this mode of transport is environmental friendly, no
fumes, no sound pollution, creating less carbon foot prints, which is required
only for the power generation at the power stations.
This has brought about a sort of silent revolution in the
transport sector, it has become popular
for the fare being comparatively cheaper than other mode of road commuting, The
common peoples' necessity.
Chang Chau Island
Women’s Association Ltd, in Hong Kong is a local women’s association who
are involved in various social activities in the island. One of their programs
are Food Recycle Land, this is a social garbage disposal program. Cheung Chau
Island is a remote island in Hong Kong.
Our General Secretary Mr. Kohei Yamada, APAY Green Team
Member Mr. Lee Man Key, Green Ambassador Ms.Cathy Wong and myself visited this island
on 17th of June to have an first-hand experience of the
The program of Food Recycle Land include food waste
collection and process them to compost fertilizer, using a food digester. Hong
Kong does not have enough land for
garbage dumping, moreover, this creates a lot of environmental concerns. Under
such a situation this program addresses the issue of garbage dumping and
creating a clean environment.
Every day the staff of this project collect food wastes from
enlisted residents of the island. They have two collection points, one in the
market place and the other in front of their office. The enlisted residents
come to this collection point daily at a designated time and deposit their food
garbage in a plastic box provided to them earlier. Then they are given a clean
plastic box to bring in their garbage for the next day. The staff also stamps
on a card of the resident. The purpose is that when the resident does have 18
stamps on their card, they are entitled to a small bag of compost fertilizer as
The collection point, where the garbage is collected
These food wastes are then piled up in tricycles and carried
to the site where they have the food digester. These food waste is then put in
the digester for processing. It takes 16 hours to transform these into compost
fertilizer, then it is stored in buckets for 21 days for being matured enough
to be used as fertilizer. This machine can process about 100 kilograms of
garbage at a time and produce about 25 kilograms of compost fertilizer each
day. There are 4 part-time staff members for this project, who collects the
garbage, process them and also clean about 150 boxes per day, ready for
distribution for the next day.
The digester machine
Garbage feed into the digester
Cleaning of garbage boxes
The processed compost
The compost fertilizers are distributed free of cost to
various organizations, who are involved in organic farming and also distributed
to the participating residents of this project.
APAY Green Team Members with the staff members of FRL
This project is funded by the Hong Kong Government and is a
very good example of environmental programs which some of green ambassadors
could initiative in their own YMCAs. The cost of the digester is very high,
this is appropriate in Hong Kong as there is scarcity of land, but in a case, where
there is enough space, the garbage could be processed in natural method using
the land, which is a cost effective. This digester costs about HK$300,000 and
consumes about 69 Kilowatt of electricity a day. These costs could be reduced
if the natural method could be adopted.