In India cows are distributed and owned by farmers across in rural India. There are also gaushala (cow sheds) run by the government to house cows in semi-urban and urban India, which consists of approximately 69% of the population. But despite a centuries old ecosystem for dairy in India, the country faces a range of different problems because of cow dung.
The Netherlands has a very organized and centralized system of Dairy that is highly efficient in its milk and meat production. But being a small nation with high concentration of cows, this excess cow dung has led to:
- GHG emissions from surplus cow dung produced in the Netherlands and collected as slurry
- Nitrates and phosphates polluting the groundwater
- Livestock feed accounts for >70% of the agriculture produce leading to high protein diet for cows which inturn leads to more nitrogen in the dung
- Reducing the size of their livestock may be the only way to handle surplus cow dung if we don't find urgent cleantech innovations for it
If through a material innovation, we can utilize the surplus cow dung and generate value added products like sustainable material composites and/or finished products, it can fuel the circular economy in both the Netherlands and India.