Many rural communities in the Negev, West Bank and Jordan suffer from a lack of municipal services. Organic waste disposal is of particular concern because animal and human waste often piles up at the edge of villages waiting to be burned. This becomes a major health hazard through the spread of disease and accidental injuries sustained from uncontrolled burning of the waste.
Several projects are underway to produce biogas from organic waste in the Middle East region. In Susya, a rural village south of Hebron in the West Bank, Arava Institute alumni are introducing biogas reactors as an alternative energy and fertilizer solution to a community of Palestinian farmers. This project is being implemented in partnership with the social Israeli NGO, Villages Group.
In collaboration with the Middle East Regional Cooperation Program (MERC), bio-digestors were also established in the Negev and in Jordan, with both sites currently providing a source of low-cost, cooking gas to local communities using livestock manure that would normally build up on their land. This project not only provides low cost cooking fuel and organic fertilizer for crops but also reduces the risk from diseases and accidental burns, as well as conserves natural resources by reducing the amount of wood collected for cooking.