Pig Sties Clean Up Attracts Country's First Carbon Credits

MEXICO - It used to be that raising pigs was a down-to-earth way of making a living. Now that industrial hog farms dominate the scene, the business is out in the ozone.
calendar icon 24 April 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Yes, indeed, folks. That pun is intended. Mexico´s 17.5 million piggies are depositing so much manure in the feedlots that the fumes are contributing to global warming. And these little piggies are going to the international carbon trading market. That´s because livestock growers have discovered that getting the smelly gases under control can bring rewards in the form of remuneration from credits under the Kyoto Protocol.

You take your average hog. It generates about 5.8 kilograms of effluent each day. When you have 3,000 to 10,000 swine in one feedlot, which is pretty standard these days, you don´t need to live next door to appreciate the odor problem.

Likewise, you can imagine the damage to the ozone layer of the upper atmosphere caused by the pile up of poop creating methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide gases.
Since 2000, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has been studying the environmental harm caused in Mexico by this shameless way of producing pork.
It turns out the industry is going whole hog, if you´ll excuse the expression. It has grown 28 percent in the last 10 years. Intensive livestock feeding facilities are contributing millions of tons of greenhouse gases to the world´s atmosphere.

Enter AgCert International, a Dublin-based designer of agricultural emissions reductions projects. With its guidance, dozens of Mexican hog feedlots have been covering their open air sewage lagoons with black plastic to create anaerobic digesters that capture the biogases, which are then flared.

These feedlots are part of 14 projects across the country that have registered with the Executive Board of the Kyoto Protocol´s Clean Development Mechanism for taking the edge off climate change. They help make Mexico second only to Brazil in the number of emissions reductions projects registered by a Latin American country.

Source: El Universal-El Universal Online

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