News / Africa

Kenyan Cookstoves Don’t Significantly Reduce Pollution

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.
x
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.

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
A recent study examining the health impacts of ceramic cookstoves used in rural Kenyan households found that the risk of pneumonia in children was not significantly reduced.  The findings were published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and are said to be the first of their kind. 

Dr. Rob Quick, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, said he and other researchers conducted a year-long observational study of the health impact of the ceramic stoves called upesi jikos on pneumonia in children under three years old.

“We found after a year that the use of these stoves did not significantly reduce the risk of pneumonia when compared to 3-stone fire pits that are used commonly in that area of Africa,” stated Quick, who also explained the stoves are produced locally according to a standard design and are popular.

“They reduce smoke substantially in the homes, which is one of the sources of their popularity.  They also reduce the risk of children getting burns.  And they provide convenient surface for women to prepare food on.   So these stoves are desirable for a number of other reasons, and we expect that women will continue to use them.  However, we would like to do something about the risk of pneumonia.  To that end, our group is studying six novel cookstove technologies designed to cleaner burning, and we should have results in the next few months to see if one or more of these cookstove designs offer potential for reducing the risk of pneumonia.”     

Quick pointed out that if they do find a stove that does lower the risk of pneumonia in children, then they will attempt to do a subsequent study on that stove to document the health impact.  At present thousands of households in Kenya own the ceramic indoor cookstoves.  Part of the reason for this, said Quick, is that the stoves are economical.

“Ceramic liner costs between two and three dollars—three U.S. dollars.  The installation maybe costs fifty cents to a dollar.  So, for people who earn less than a dollar, these stoves are very affordable.  As I mentioned earlier, they have a number of very desirable characteristics.  So they’re inexpensive and they’re relatively easy to install, and they support the local economy.   People make them, sell them, and install them.  So, they’re essentially creating jobs for people.”  

In the meantime, as research continues on finding improvements in the air quality resulting from the stoves, Quick explained there are some things women—as the main cooks in the household—can do to lower the risks of respiratory symptoms.

“Using these upesi jikos stoves is much preferable to the 3-stone fire pits—the traditional fires—you know which is essentially like a campfire, you know, with all of the smoke and everything, that’s worse.  But, they can do one of two things, if they’re going to use 3-stone fire pits, they can cook outside when weather permits, so the smoke doesn’t fill the house.  The other option is either to build a chimney in the house for the smoke to exit through, or to at least somehow create an opening near the stove for smoke to exit.  But honestly to really make this happen, you need cleaner burning stoves.”      

Quick emphasized that the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a partnership of governments, private companies, non-governmental organizations, and other organizations that include the U.N. and the WHO, with the goal of providing cookstoves to 100 million households.

“The reason for this alliance is this very large global problem of people burning these fires in their homes which put children at risk of pneumonia, put people at risk of burns, and also contribute to climate change.  The goal is to develop cleaner burning cookstoves that alleviate all these problems and move populations, particularly in the developing world, to a position of better health.”

Dr. David H. Walker, the new president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, said “this research on cookstoves illustrates that the approach to improving children’s health must employ strategies that take a holistic view of the child, one that includes the home.”   He added that further studies will help determine where to allocate the increasingly dwindling funding for such studies.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid