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Chinese Women Awarded for Renewable Energy Scheme
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A Chinese women's organization has won an international environmental protection prize for promoting the use of clean energy resources in rural northwest China.

The Shaanxi Mothers Environmental Protection Volunteers Association, a non-profit non-governmental organization, won second prize at the 2006 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy on June 15 for its efforts to promote the use of methane in rural areas, said Wang Mingying, president of organization.

The organization, founded in 1997, conducted a series of activities such as tree planting, environmental protection campaigns, and training rural women in the use of methane, in order to raise environmental awareness while improving rural living standards, Wang said.

In 1999, the organization started a program under which rural women were taught how to raise pigs, then use pig dung to produce methane and use the byproducts as fertilizer for fruit trees.

It had trained 8,015 women in 105 villages, of whom 1,294 have established methane generating facilities in their homes, Wang said.

Using methane, each household can save annually at least 1,500 kilograms of firewood, formerly used in cooking, she said.

The program promoted the use of clean energy, reduced damage to the environment and changed the lifestyles of local people, said Wang.

The program proved how China had used local clean energy resources, said Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder of the Ashden Awards, adding it set an example for other countries and in the study of global climate changes.

Founded in 2001, the Ashden Awards encourage the development and use of renewable energy resources that serve environmental protection.

Eleven programs in China, India and South Africa won awards this year.

The Shaanxi association was the sole Chinese winner this year.

(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2006)

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