Biogas for the Cagayan de Oro City Jail: An ICRC-Funded Environmental and Livelihood Project in the Philippines

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Jails may not be the first places that come to mind when thinking about environmental projects, but the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Philippines nevertheless recognized great potential for such a project in the jails of the Philippines. Philippine jails, which are managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), are, like many jails in developing countries, overcrowded and underfinanced, often due to a legal system unable to keep up with the influx of new suspects. While this obviously makes the lives of inmates uncomfortable, it can also pose an environmental and fiscal problem, since the high prison populations literally consume away much of the BJMP’s budget in their need for food and correspondingly produce large volumes of wastewater. If this wastewater is simply discharged or inadequately treated in an outdated septic tank, as is often the case, then the local environment can become degraded through surface and groundwater pollution, which can then result in health problems for nearby residents relying on that water.

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