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Bamboo Air Purification by Joseph5Chepsoi

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Bamboo grows in most soils, environments, climate with minimal tillage, input, care and naturally purifies the air we breath.



Bamboo growing as a low-cost sustainable, household-level commercial plantation can speedily and easily be introduced, adopted and scaled-up to secure water catchments, protect erodible soils, generate massive employment and high income, while at the same time significantly reducing GHG emissions, ensures food security, water availability and energy security perfectly fine.

Given that agriculture, livestock and deforestation are currently responsible for 20-30% of global emissions of GHGs, the sectors must provide opportunities with reduction and sequestration of GHGs which exceed what they emit and absorb excess from the normal atmosphere.

visions of introducing household level bamboo plantation that can be scaled-up to reduce GHGs, generate income, increase food, water availability and energy supply.

Global market value of bamboo is estimated to range from US $7B - US$11.9 Billion and $176 B in 2017(8). Continues to increase as it has over 1,200 species and over 5,000 uses and applications. An hectare of bamboo plantation generates about 200 work days ago annum and is intended to employ mostly women and youth. 

Bamboo grows nearly everywhere. It can speedily, easily, affordably be scaled up globally as it is the fastest growing plant on earth with a growth rate of up to 1.2 m a day and is stronger than steel, weight for weight and the roots reduces soil erosion by up to 75%. It's carbon reduction and sequestration is an average  of 195 t/ha, which is the highest compared to any other known tree species.

My vision is to start small in a unique small village that had indigenous bamboo but were removed when exotic pyrethrum, Irish potatoes and wattle trees were introduced as cash crops, however, pyrethrum have since lost value, killed bees and bamboo are no more.

The business model will have key partners, key activities, key resources, value propositions, customer relationships, customer segments, channels, cost structure and revenue streams.

NASA will be a key stakeholder.


What actions do you propose?

Proposed actions:

  • Development of business canvas framework.
  • Conduct feasibility study 
  • Establish working relationships and partnerships with existing bamboo research institutions, marketing cooperatives and government forestry departments
  • Undertake baseline survey of existing bamboo and traditional knowledge base
  • Draft a bankable business plan
  • Establish a Business Advisory Team of 3 visionary professionals inclusive of myself.
  • Establish a Business Development Team of Key Stakeholders
  • Establish a Technical Advisory Team inclusive of a bamboo expert
  • Awareness creation at community level
  • Conduct Resource mobilization
  • Develop and conduct appropriate training 
  • Undertake capacity building (film shows, tours, talk shows, creative posters, radio talk discussions in vernacular languages, plays, local competitions and games)


Tissue Culture Laboratory, Nursery & Propagation; Processing and Value Addition Facility, Resource and Research Centre.

Identification, installation and establishment of an up to date bamboo plants propagation facility complete with tissue culture and development of water supply source, functional processing and value addition facility and fully operational resource-cum-research Centre stocked and equipped with appropriate and matching resources.



GOAL 1: To establish a well managed efficient, effective and credible project

OUTCOME 1: Well managed, efficient, effective and credible Project

Project Objectives 1:

1.1 Lay proper foundation, understanding and trust

1.2 Sensitized communities

1.3 Develop simple, concise and realistic instructions

1.4 Community trust, nature and scope of participation realized

1.5 Register sufficient number of beneficiaries for commercial bamboo

1.6 Functional management structures and qualified competent, talented and reliable personnel on board

1.7 Physical facilities procured and acquired legitimately on a win-win basis 


GOAL 2: To conduct capacity, establish bamboo production and do in-situ research

OUTCOME 2: A well established, sustainable household based bamboo enterprise reducing and sequestering 195 tons of Carbon/ha of Bamboo planted land area excluding storage by improved soils.

2. Objectives

2.1 Identify, quantify and document training and capacity building needs and requirements

2.2 Facilitate appropriate training and technology transfer to the project

2.3 Establish reference benchmark and analysis of existing situation

2.4 Match solutions with identified challenges

2.5 Ring fence/shield project from internal and external interferences

2.6 Sustainable and profitable community based bamboo enterprise realized

2.7 Commercial bamboo enterprise actualized

2.8 Credible networking established and functional

2.9 Bamboo policy and Act allowing commercial bamboo growing

2.10 Application and use of new research results

2 Results

2.1 Capacity building and training needs assessed

2.2 Training and capacity building conducted

2.3 Baseline survey and analysis conducted

2.4 Constraints and limitations identified to avoid under rating them

2.5 Positive and negative influencers identified

2.6 Bankable business and Public Private Partnership Developed

2.7 Viable commercial area per beneficiary household committed to bamboo growing.

2.8 Networks identified, secured and Memorandum of Understanding prepared and signed

2.9 Bamboo Policy and Bill developed for introduction and debate in parliament

2.10 New applications and uses identified, documented, patented and registered

2 Activities

2.1 Capacity building and training needs assessment

2.2 Plan and conduct training and capacity building

2.3 Baseline survey

2.4 Identify constraints and limitations to commercialization of bamboo growing

2.5 Identify internal and external influencers and threats

2.6 Development of Bamboo Community Based Business Plan under Public Private Partnership Approach

2.7 Viable commercial area required per household planted with bamboo (100% of households in 3 adjacent wards in Elgeyo Marakwet, Uasin-Gishu and Baringo Counties will adopt the Project)

2.8 Network with preferred national, regional and international research institutions (KEFRI, willing Public University, ICRAF, INBAR, NASA, UNEP,, Columbia University, etc.)

2.9 Development and Advocacy for Bamboo Policy and Act

2.10 Further research on new applications and uses of bamboo (juice, wine, medicinal, heat wave protective clothes, etc.)


GOAL 3: To prioritize value addition, marketing, monitoring and evaluation needs

OUTCOME 3: A happy, health and wealth community contended with real bamboo benefits

3. Objectives

3.1 Appropriate Bamboo processing facilities procured competitively using internationally recognized and acceptable rules and standards

3.2 Sustainable and secure marketing assured

3.3 Ensure development and institutionalization of monitoring and evaluation of project performance with appropriate indicators

3.4 Poverty vanished, food security assured and the beginning of the end of CO2 imbalance starts

3. Results

3.1 Appropriate, machineries, tools and equipment identified, procured and installed

3.2 Market for bamboo product secured (AGOA, UNCTAD specialized niche markets, etc)

3.3 Developed and institutionalized monitoring and evaluation procedures put in place

3.4 Livelihoods, ecologies, food and reliable incomes secured and sustained.

3. Activities

3.1 Identify, procure and install equipment, tools and machineries for adding value and processing bamboo

3.2 Identify, connect and secure markets for bamboo products

3.3 Develop and institutionalize monitoring and evaluation of all project activities from inception and onwards

3.4 Households investing in sustainable Bamboo enterprise

  Other activities will include but not limited to the following which are not necessary in order of undertaking:

  • Develop monitoring and evaluation criteria, metrics and Logframe
  • Prepare an Expression of Interest Form for households
  • Prepare a Request for Technical Support from County Government in their capacity as a stakeholder and for local governance ownership which is critical otherwise local leaders will think the project will dethrone them without knowing it's a noble business undertaking.
  • Launching 
  • Establish collaborative research on medicinal properties
  • Research on its properties and new uses e.g. heat wave clothing material,  
  • Conduct demonstrations,
  •  Guiding communities to evolve their own new policies, positive behavioral and  attitude changes towards bamboo resource. 


All actions will ensure bamboo reduces and sequesters CO2 gases and generates up to 35% more oxygen than equivalent stand of trees. 1 ha of bamboo sequesters between 62 tons to 290 tons of carbon per annum possibly based on the species, growth stage and growing environment where as 1 ha of young trees sequesters 15 t of CO2 annually. 

Currently 30 billion tons of CO2 equivalent produced annually by human activity with agriculture, livestock and deforestation being responsible for 20-30% of these GHG emissions. Thus, at the rate of 62 tons of CO2 per annum, what is required is an area of the size of Sudan or 63% of the area of Australia or less, if the higher rate of 290 tons of CO2 is used, is planted with bamboo to sequester all the 30 billion tons of CO2. This is quite possible and can be achieved with the right focus, resources, and goodwill. It will be done, since bamboo has the best, quickest, sustainable  and reliable ways of removing vast amounts of that CO2 from the atmosphere. Preserved bamboo in buildings will sequester and store the carbon for 100 years. (Source: J.Jahnsen, Technical University Eindhoven, 2000)

Bamboo’s other advantage is that it has great strength and flexibility, making it an ideal low-cost building material in many parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, areas where it is native. This means that bamboo in a plantation can regularly be chopped down and used to build houses and other structures, where the carbon remains sequestered for an average of 80 years (Castañeda, 2006), and that the plantation will recover quickly due to the fast growth rate. Because of this, the World Bank recently financed a project in Ecuador proposed by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), an intergovernmental organization dedicated to improving the livelihoods of the poor producers and users of bamboo and rattan. The project is called ‘Elevated bamboo houses to protect communities in flood zones’ and has so far succeeded in developing and implementing techniques to construct ecological flood-resistant housing for low-income families using a type of bamboo that is native to Ecuador. 

Bamboo’s carbon sequestration properties have been studied in countries where it naturally forms wild forests, such as Mexico (Castañeda, 2006) and China (Song, 2011). Contributing to these efforts, Ricardo Rojas Quiroga—an environmental engineering student at the Universidad Nuestra Señora de La Paz—studied Guadua angustifolia, a species of bamboo that grows in the Carrasco National Park of Bolivia. He measured the density and masses of bamboo plants in the forest, estimating the amount of carbon stored per hectare. Rojas concluded that, in addition to forming part of one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, each hectare of the bamboo forest of Carrasco National Park stores levels of carbon comparable to some large tree species such as Chinese fir and oak. This finding is consistent with that of many previous studies, a review of which can be found in this 2010 report by INBAR

Bamboo has some disadvantages like susceptibility to insect and fungal attack, small diameter, thin-walled and hollow condition. Improvement can be made by further understanding of the structure, physical, mechanical, chemical, and technological properties of bamboo. Due to many advancements a number of new bamboo-based products with special properties were developed replacing timber as the raw material. Most of the new products from thin-walled bamboos are in the form of composites and reconstituted panel products. These products include woven bamboo mat board, corrugated board, bamboo slivers, laminated board, bamboo strips, plyboard, bamboo-based fiberboards, bamboo-based cement-bonded particleboard, and resin-bonded, bamboo-based particleboard (Bello and Espiloy 1995). A Research & Development component has therefore been incorporated.


The current state-of-of-the-art is that climate change is not real, happens far away, can't impact on us and any solutions will come from far away, are expensive and unattainable. In the pilot Project sites communities have accepted poverty as a norm despite having some of best resources in the world including the bamboo which is emerging as an sifinificant economic resource worldwide.

Given, its immense capability to reduce and sequester so much CO2 per unit are of land used, produce so much products and benefits to the communities, at so little cost per unit of CO2 reduced and sequestered, offering huge potentials.

Bamboos strength, straightness and lightness, combined with extraordinary hardness, range in sizes, abundance, easy propagation and short period in which they attain maturity make then suitable for various purposes. The diversity of this fascinating plant has to be conserved not just for financial reasons, but also more importantly in the revitalization of traditional science and technologies (18) and air purification as proposed.    

Approximate area planted with bamboo of 181,818,182 ha - 483,870,967  ha could reduce and sequester 30 Billion ton of CO2 at the rate of 195 tons/ha to 62 tons/ha of CO2 reduced and sequestered by bamboo.  

Who will take these actions?

Actions at various project development stages will be undertaken by the key stakeholders at community, county, national and global levels. 

1. Households at community level will participate in decision making process from initiation and all other project development stages.

2. Professionals and technical experts from the County and National Governments to provide required capacity building and training as required according to their routine institutional mandates.

3. Consultants, technicians and specialized service providers to be engaged depending on project needs on case by case basis to add on, complement and reinforce what has been provided by other public project actors.

4. Participating individual households will be involved in training, planting and management of their own minimum area set aside for commercial bamboo planting with 100% acceptance rate envisaged.

5. Community Focus Groups, at village level, will be responsible for a critical minimum area needed to set up a viable processing facility.

7. The private sector will provide services and take pre-determined actions based on transparent, competitive, fair and free market forces. 

8. Faith Based, Community Based and Non-State Organizations to play leading roles as existing community structures spearheading development at the grass roots to leverage on their resources and provide checks and balances for fairness in all project activities, practices and processes in the entire project circle.

6. Resources contributions: Each household will provide time, skills, effort and knowledge.  Initially, labor will be partially paid for by the project to ensure the community realizes some monetary benefits before bamboo earnings.  Households will be responsible for their subsequent labor costs after attaining project sustainability threshold.

7. Specialized paid for technical services/resources from accredited and recognized sources. 

8.  Willing, constructive and empathic partners with needed and defined roles. 



Where will these actions be taken?

Developing Countries:

Actions for pilot phase starts from Metkei Ward, Elgeyo Marakwet County, Ainabkoi Ward in Uasin -Gishu and Mumberes in Baringo Counties where communities live in villages straddling across the 3 counties. The inhabitants share common traditions, cultures, language, values, challenges and resources but separated by administrative boundaries. 

It's where I was my born, grew up and began my education. With an altitude of about 2650 m a.s.l, it's a unique water tower as it separates the streams supplying water to River Nile and Lake Turkana. 

Villages suit household based commercial bamboo based economy on based on these characteristics:

1. Conducive climate

2.Well drained, deep, red clay soils.

3. Cool temperatures.

4. High altitude

5. Undulating terrain

6.About all households have their land touching a stream or is a spring source. 

7.Originally indigenous bamboo species grew freely, but the introduction of pyrethrum, wattle trees and Irish potatoes as cash crops, bamboo were cleared and has become an endangered species as it no longer grows freely.

8. Bamboo for traditional uses (building houses, making baskets and other household tools) has been lost with all these happening within the last 50 years. 

9. Availability of labor. Most households no longer grow pyrethrum, most youth need employment and each household has space for planting bamboo.

10. Last but not least is the new constitution which brought a new governance system of 2 tier governments at national and county levels. Communities are expected to initiate, participate and implement their own prioritized development agenda but priorities still miss appropriate technical guidance on business oriented land use systems that earns them sustainable income, conserve water towers, soils, generate employment and ensure food security as it vanishes poverty and purifiers air.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

The amount of carbon dioxide emissions to be reduced and or sequestered by bamboo will range between 100 tons C/ha and 290 tons C/ha. Of these amounts,19-33% is stored within the bamboo and vegetative layer, and 67-81% is stored within the soil layer. Shrubs accounts for 3-6 % of the C stocks, grass and litter accounts for a small C stock contribution. Thus, an average C sequestration or storage of the 195 tons C/ha can be achieved. 

Assuming the household level bamboo plantation of 0.1 ha per household, which is equivalent to 19.5 tons of carbon. To establish an economically viable size bamboo processing plant, a cumulative  total of 500 ha of bamboo needs to be planted.

Another key factor for the success of household level commercial bamboo growing is > 2% of the population needs to accept the business idea and become early innovators.

Without the business the C sequestration to be determined, by experts but  viable. The total amount of carbon can be calculated though I haven't possible

What are other key benefits?

Other key benefits are:

  • Key benefits, uses and applications are over 5,000. 
  • Viable alternatives to most plastic products and uses
  • Protects water catchments
  • Conserves, and restores soils
  • Used in building constructions
  • Used as edible salads
  • Medicinal "bamboo mushroom"
  • Longer lifespan for people living in Bamboo ecosystem
  • Firewood
  • Toothpicks
  • Basketry
  • Furniture
  • Musical instruments
  • Linen fiber and fabric products
  • Cover boards for electronics (computers, phones, printers, etc.) 
  • Traditional tools
  • Serves as tourist attractions, sanctuary for birds, butterflies, insects, and other bamboo loving living creatures and plants
  • Cleans soils  
  • Pulp making
  • All timber products can be made from bamboo which has more strength than steel 
  • Pleasant environment
  • Fresh air
  • And for many, many many other uses and applications up to 5,000 excluding those yet to be discovered. 
  • Smoke from chimneys flows towards bamboo against wind flow direction 

What are the proposal’s costs?

Proposal costs estimated at US $ 2,000,000 (mobilized, secured and spread over a period of 10 years) for all project phases and activities: tissue culture lab, nursery/ propagation unit, training and capacity building, planting materials, establishment of household plantations, installation of processing facilities and research/ bamboo resource Centre. AGOA market for Kenya to expand beyond textile, as Kenya is currently exporting less than 10 products to the US market, out of 6,400 listed under the trade promotion laws.  

Financial aspects: 

Unit cost: The unit annual cost for one cumulative hectare of plantation will be based on a sample from INBAR or Bamboo Integrated Project, India (can't trace actual ref) with the following budget items:

  • Planting Materials inclusive of 20% mortality replacement in year 2.
  • Manure and fertilizers
  • Shoot Protection
  • Irrigation on need basis
  • Fencing


  • Labour
  • Land Preparation
  • Digging of pits, refilling of pits
  • Planting and staking
  • Plant protection
  • Weeding 
  • Pruning
  • Soil working, etc,
  • Harvesting
  • Contingency 


In that example, the project is financially viable with financial indicators given as NPV (Rs. 6890); BCR (1.64) and IRR (26%)     

With a Global market value range of US$ 7 Billion, US$11.9 and XXX, the estimated budget will ensure the Project is implemented within ring fenced financial arrangements to shield it from both internal and external interference prone to most projects. Furthermore demand for bamboo products continues to increase and new applications and uses will be discovered. 

Fund distribution as per various activities in accordance with agreed terms and conditions set out by the financiers with concurrence by  beneficiaries. Project will be under the Public Private Partnership approach. Inputs accounted for and administered transparently to the exceed expectations of all stakeholders. Project pilot phase is at village level, expanding to county, then national and finally other developing countries.



Time line

The proposed actions will be phased out as follows:

Given the urgency, seriousness and magnitude of the impending climate change challenges, the proposed timeline will be determined by the availability of bamboo planting materials, access to funds and speed of community mobilization and their willingness to accept and adopt the concept first and foremost for the realization of their own benefits, then their understanding of the need to cushion themselves and others from the effects of climate change.   

1. Short term (1-3 years)

Introduce, demonstrate and establish a firm foundation for household based commercial bamboo planting. Conducting initial participatory training and information sharing meetings, setting up nurseries and demonstration plots, sensitizing all stakeholders, conducting baseline surveys, recruiting early adopters, identifying equipment for value addition to bamboo through processing will take 3-7 years from start to process and selling of value added bamboo products depending on bamboo species.

2. Medium term (7-15 years) 

Take the household level bamboo commercial planting to neighboring countries and beyond in Africa, with an aim of making the continent a leading producer, processor and exporter of the bamboo products with added value, thus earning foreign exchange, creating employment and vanishing poverty. 

3. Long term (>15 -100 years) 

This will possibly take 15-20 years based on my visionary plans. However, the timelines given as 5-15 years, 15-50 years and 50-100 years for short term, medium term and long term can still apply. 

CO2 is near the highest concentration in human history - 400 ppm exceeded in 2013. Last time CO2 was that high, humans didn't exist (15), hence need to identify and marshal competent forces to expedite sustainable solutions.

Related proposals

Other Climate CoLab proposals somehow related to this proposal could be the following:

1. Solar powered air filtering blimps with wifi:

2. Cycling Carbon:

3. A Pathway to EcoVillages By Phil Hawes Ph.D., 28 March, 20153.




  • Bamboo Propagation via Tissue Culture Roeleveld.pdf
  • Guidelines for Growing Bamboo, Bernard N. Kigomo, KEFRI Guidelines Series: No.4-April 2007
  • Hidalgo-Lopez, Oscar. (2003). Bamboo: The Gift of the Gods. Oscar Hidaldo-Lopez Edition, Colombia, 2003.
  • Comparative Analysis and Policy Recommendations on Developing
  • Development and Promotion of Bamboo Housing Technology in
  • Growing the Future of Bamboo Products by Jonathan Bardelline, 2009
  • Expand AGOA benefits beyond textiles 
  • news_andrew
  • The Last Time CO2 was This High, Humans Didn't Exist, by Andrew Freedman, May 3rd, 2013.
  • Bamboo Worldwide. The Current Market & Future Potential - Eco Plant Bamboo, Muller Inga & Rebelo Camille
  • Are Bamboo Products The Future Retail Business Insider Financial Model
  • Bamboo for Integrated Rural Development: Bamboo Cultivation - Kerala Agriculture