Earlier this week, we were invited to Dongshan, a farming village on the far side of Caohai Lake, for a meeting of one of the area’s several Community Trust Funds. Started in 1993, the Caohai CTF groups have been offering microcredit loans to members of their communities to start enterprises and assist with cost-of-living expenses.
The farmer’s association has also helped the communities around the lake build new drinking wells and bio-gas generators.
The bio-gas project is particularly exciting. By collecting pig and human waste, methane is stored and piped into houses to provide gas for cooking and lighting. There are multiple benefits. Bio-gas generators reduce the amount of raw sewage entering into Cao Hai lake. And by minimizing the need for coal, bio-gas saves families up to 2,000 RMB/$300 per year, reduces in-home coal emissions (a public health issue), and limits methane dispersal into the atmosphere (a significant contributor to global warming).