News

    Aid Groups Meeting in Kenya Promote 'Clean Cookstoves'

    Saving money is one of the many benefits of clean cookstoves, which use natural gas, solar power or electricity, Kenya, May 2, 2012.
    Saving money is one of the many benefits of clean cookstoves, which use natural gas, solar power or electricity, Kenya, May 2, 2012.

    Indoor air pollution emanating from open fires or leaky cookstoves is the fifth-largest health risk in the developing world, according to the World Health Organization. Massive deforestation caused by households collecting firewood is also a huge problem. The use of so-called “clean cookstoves” - stoves that use clean fuel such as natural gas, or cut down on solid fuels such as firewood - is being touted as a way of combating indoor air pollution and deforestation. Aid groups met in Kenya’s capital recently to fine-tune promotion efforts.

    Roseline Amondi is making githeri, a traditional dish of maize and beans, for her small restaurant in the informal settlement of Kibera in Kenya’s capital.

    She places her sufuria, or cooking pot, on what is called a “clean cookstove,” powered by biogas harnessed from the community toilet.

    Amondi says she now pays one-tenth of what she used to when cooking.

    “Me, I have a small hotel [restaurant]. I was using wood," she said. "You can just see that sufuria - it is black. And now, I can cook with gas; it is a pride on my side. In fact, I am very happy, because even charcoal, we buy, and also even wood, we buy at a higher price. But this one is only 10 shillings.”

    Saving money is one of the many benefits of clean cookstoves, which use natural gas, solar power or electricity, and can also utilize solid fuels such as firewood or charcoal more efficiently.

    “When you have a clean cookstove, the level of particulate emissions, the smoke that you are breathing, is reduced drastically, and therefore you get the health benefits from using a clean cookstove,” said Radha Muthiah, the executive director of the Washington-based Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

    Clean cookstoves feature chimneys and other ventilation structures, grills to hold the firewood in place, and insulation.

    Traditional cookstoves and open fires release carbon dioxide, methane, and other harmful emissions.

    “Traditional stoves can also create indoor air pollution," said Laura Clough, a market researcher with the Global Village Energy Partnership. "People often cook in small spaces that are not well ventilated, and the smoke and emissions given off can lead to long-term health consequences.”

    These consequences include pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. Emphysema, cataracts, bronchitis and cardiovascular disease are also risks.

    The World Health Organization estimates that nearly two million people, 500,000 in East Africa alone, die prematurely every year of illnesses arising from indoor air pollution.

    Aid groups are working on promoting and subsidizing clean cookstoves primarily for rural households, which rely heavily on firewood and charcoal to cook their food.

    Between 2006 and 2011, GIZ disseminated 1.3 million stoves on a commission basis all across Kenya, saving up to 50 percent of firewood per stove.

    “If you calculate that, it’s about 1.4 million tonnes per year saved, which is equivalent to 78,000 hectares of tree cover saved,” said Anna Ingwe, the coordinator of the Kenya Cookstove Program at the German aid agency GIZ.

    An important consideration in a rapidly-deforesting region.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Dan Robinson
    May 06, 2012 10:09 PM
    Better still would be solar cookers, assuming weather permits, many times and places in the third world.

    by: Charles Appel
    May 03, 2012 9:15 AM
    Fascinating piece. Well done!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora