The Cookstove That Could Save 4 Million Lives Per Year
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Growing up, Phil Ferranto never thought about how people cooked around the world. He took it for granted, like many of us do, thinking most people had access to some type of stove to feed their families.
“I was really ignorant to the fact that billions of people around the world were cooking on an open fire,” Ferranto says, adding how dangerous and inefficient such a setup can be.
But in April 2011, he cofounded EcoZoom, a social enterprise dedicated to bringing sustainable products into homes in developing countries. Its flagship products are clean cookstoves, which burn fuel more efficiently, saving users money on energy costs. Even more importantly, they reduce the unsafe amounts of smoke that open fires drive into people’s homes, and make them less vulnerable to burns.
“In a sense, EcoZoom started as a social enterprise looking to create an effective solution to problems people face every day,” Ferranto, who also acts as the company’s chief business officer, tells Mashable.
Nearly 3 billion people — 40% of the world’s population — continue to rely on solid fuels and open fires for their energy needs, contributing to household air pollution up to 20 times more than accepted guidelines advise, according to the World Health Organization. One WHO report equated it to smoking two packs of cigarettes every day.
As a result, more than 4 million people, primarily women and children, die each year from health problems linked to inhaling carbon monoxide or pollutants from stoves that burn wood, biomass or coal.
But EcoZoom and companies like it provide cleaner, live-saving alternatives.