Cheese Factory, Sing Gompa, Himatayas
Above the town of Dhunche, Nepal, is the remote mountain settlement and monastery of Sing Gompa. Located at 3600m, this little settlement includes a cheese factory. Yak milk is collected daily on the slopes and brought to the factory where it is heated and processed into large rounds of cheese. When ready, these rounds are earned down the mountain by porters in loads weighing well over 60kg.
Wood is the most common fuel in the Himalayas. It can be a scarce commodity and time consuming to gather. Its harvest can also lead to biodiversity loss and erosion. The cheese factory at Sing Gompa is working on a bio-gas solution that will help alleviate these problems. Yak dung and other waste can be used to produce methane, which can be used as fuel to make the cheese. Methane is a more efficient fuel and much easier to control for the specific temperatures required for cheese making.
Local solutions exist all over the world. This is just one example of sustainable production that is consistent with respect for the environment. Kathmandu is in an energy crisis. ‘Load shedding’– a euphemism for scheduled black-outs – is a day-to-day occurrence. Most tourist establishments rely on backup diesel generators to get through power cuts.