AstraZeneca and CISL to launch sustainability project in Kenya

AstrageneccaAstraZeneca aims to help in achieving positive development solutions in sub-Saharan Africa. (Image source: World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr)AstraZeneca will announce a new sustainability project in partnership with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) at the 71st World Health Assembly

The pilot will see the introduction of portable biodigesters to Dunga Beach on Lake Victoria in Kenya, which will allow the local community to process organic waste into valuable clean energy. It will study the impact on the environment and local economy and provide potential insight into the effect of clean cooking on respiratory health.

The innovative project will use local technology supplied by Kenyan firm, Biogas International Ltd, and will see the launch of 50 domestic-scale flexi-biogas plants and two community scale plants in October 2018 in Dunga Beach.

The process involves feeding waste materials together with water hyacinth – a local weed known to clog the lake at Dunga Beach – into digesters that generate cooking gas and fertiliser that is cleaner and greener than current alternatives.

“Each digester will provide enough energy to meet the needs of a typical home for a day, while the larger community systems will provide cooking services and charging for local fishermen, fish processors and market stalls. The biogas itself can be used for a variety of purposes from fuelling cooking equipment to incubating chicks and purifying water,” said the company.

The project aims to improve respiratory health in the community by reducing exposure to smoke from cooking over wood-burning fires. It will also reduce the time taken by villagers, particularly women and children, to collect firewood for cooking.

Additionally, the move from firewood to gas is expected to have an impact on the local environment, supporting the Kenyan Government’s target to increase the country’s tree cover from the current 6.2 per cent to 10 per cent.

Katarina Ageborg, executive vice-president for sustainability and chief compliance officer at AstraZeneca, said, “The project embodies our sustainability agenda and is unique in the way it allows us to leverage our strengths in access, science and innovation to provide a package that will ultimately benefit a local community. We look forward to working closely with our partners and the local community at Dunga Beach over the coming months to get the pilot programme up and running in the autumn.”

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