Burning solid fuels in inefficient cookstoves releases toxic pollutants into the air leading to levels of household air pollution which often far exceed World Health Organization health-based guidelines.
The Energy Crisis
Millions of homes in Kenya and thousands of institutions use dirty and unsustainable wood-fuels leading to a huge energy crisis.
10 million homes in Kenya use wood-fuels as the primary source of cooking fuel. By either using firewood or charcoal, these households:
- Expose themselves to respiratory-tract infections because of the harmful smoke from wood-fuels
- A lot of time is wasted in preparation of wood-fuels, estimated at 45 minutes per meal
For majority of these households already living in poverty, electricity and gas are beyond their means, and they are trapped in a vicious cycle of depending on dirty fuels.
According to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, women and young children are the worst affected as they are directly involved in cooking.
Many institutions and industries also continue to rely on wood-fuels. In fact, 68% of Kenya’s energy demand is met through biomass.
As a result:
- 48,000 hectares of trees are cut down annually leading to mass deforestation
- Thousands of workers expose themselves to unhealthy working conditions
Most of these institutions find alternatives expensive and unprofitable thus they continue to use wood-fuels oblivious of the inherent consequences.
Solid fuel use is known to cause acute lower respiratory infections in children, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, ischemic heart disease and stroke in adults.
Household Air Pollution Expert Groups involved in the Comparative Risk Assessment (CRA)
Firewood affects our cooks and our students making cooking and eating, which is supposed to be a lovely thing, a very harmful undertaking.