Africa Is the Key To Ending Harmful Use of Polluting Fuels in the Home
In wealthy countries, most people can barely imagine using anything other than electricity or gas to cook in their homes. But billions of people around the world, including the majority of Africans and most of the world’s rural population, rely on polluting fuels like wood or charcoal for their cooking energy needs.
These fuels emit dangerous levels of household air pollution, including fine particulate matter and carbon monoxide, increasing risks of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and pneumonia, among other noncommunicable diseases. It is no surprise then that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has attributed millions of premature deaths per year to polluting cooking.
Open fires and poorly balanced pots are also hazardous to the families that use them, risking burns and scalds. And fuel collection is often tasked to women and children, reducing opportunities for education or income generation, and thus perpetuating gender inequalities.