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Garbage Into Energy in Pakistan

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Landfills Of...Useful Energy!

Em Power is a project that aims to take overloaded landfills in Pakistan, and convert the garbage into energy. 10,000 people live quite literally on top of the trash in shanty town slum dwellings, with tremendous toxicity and disastrous health problems.

Headed by scholars from Rutgers, Princeton University, and University of California-Berkeley, the group has put forth an initiative to establish a bio digester, which produces methane from organic waste to run a small scale generator. The gas that would be emitted from decomposition is captured to power things like pumps for water, refrigerators, lights, computers.

The 3,000 tons of garbage dumped per day at the Kachra Kundi landfill in Karachi can be turned into energy. Not only that -- the mulch from the process can be used as fertilizer for small organic farms.

But the technology isnít the groundbreaking stuff about this project. The group intends to create an active local partnership with the community. A small co op would be formed to administer and share the proceeds from this project.

Jobs will be created on the site and livelihoods will be made possible. These communities will for the first time have lights, sanitation, communication, the ability to keep food cool and all the other things we take for granted in our lives.

Let's keep an eye on this incredible visionary project as it develops.

--Bibi Farber

This video depicts one of the winning entries in the "Extraordinary Stories Student Award Program" presented recently at the Grand Challenge Summit hosted by Wellesley College, Babson College and Olin College of Engineering.