Women are exposed to smoke for several hours each day (BP40, Practical Action)
More than half the world’s population still depend on solid fuels (coal, wood, agriculturalresidues etc.) to meet their energy needs (WHO 2008). Using solid fuels on traditional open fires results in high levels of IndoorAirPollution resulting in 1.6 million deaths per year (one death every 20 seconds). This is higher than the number of deaths caused by malaria each year (WHO 2002).

Cooking on traditional open and three-stone fires results in large amounts of smoke being produced containing carcinogenic particulates and carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is produced due to the incomplete combustion of fuel, levels of carbon monoxide up to 20 times higher than acceptable WHO guidelines have been recorded as emissions from these traditional cooking methods. A further health risk from cooking methods particularly open fires which are not contained is burns. Women and children are most at risk from poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and burns as women carry out most of the cooking, whilst small children remain close to their mothers. 59% of all indoor pollution-attributed deaths fall on females whilst 56% occur in children under 5 years of age.

Indoor air pollution is responsible for 2.7% of the global burden for disease. The ImpactsOfPoorIAQ are respiratory illness including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, tuberculosis, perinatal outcomes including low birth weight, and eye diseases.

IndoorAirPollutionandHealth (IAP) is a major problem and reducing air pollution is critical for achieving the MDGs (see HowToReduceIndoorAirPollutants). It affects child mortality (MDG 4) and gender equality (MDG 3). In 2006 The 14th session of the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD14) took place in New York, WHO, GTZ, the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air, Practical Action and the US Environmental Protection Agency organised a joint side event entitled "4000 deaths a day from cooking fires? Lets prevent them!". The aim being make a case for the urgent need to improve access to household energy among the poor. This was followed up a year later at CSD15.

It is evident that immediate and ongoing action is required to address indoor air pollution. However, it is important that we act EnsuringSustainability in order to meet the users needs and providing long term solutions addressing the health and financing needs of the user as well as considering environmental impact and marketing issues for the alternative technology proposed.

Links to information about HouseholdSmokeMonitoring provides information based on work by Practical Action in how to effectively reduce smoke emissions.

Further Resources:

Name Type
The Nepal Trust - Working with Health, Community Development and hope in the 'Hidden Himalayas'
"The Nepal Trust provides integrated rural development in the far North West of Nepal. Our main objective is to help create community projects that emphasize local participation and responsibility and
The PCIA Awards Program has opened applications for 2009 - Apply now!
The Partnership for Clean Indoor Air awards will be presented to outstanding leaders in the field to highlight their achievements in improving health, livelihood & quality of life by reducing exposure
The Toyola Improved Coalpot: "A cleaner, safer way to cook"
For hundreds of thousands of families in Ghana who cook using traditional methods, simple metal & clay devices provide a cleaner, safer, more efficient way to prepare their daily meals, while also red
Traffic Pollution & Children's Health: Refining Estimates of Exposure for Health Study
The Principal Investigator of this study was Bart Ostro, Ph.D. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment,California Environmental Protection Agency.
Twende Newsletter, January 2010
Twende is a young Tanzanian NGO dedicated to improving the lives and fortunes of African people by the development and promotion of appropriate technology.
U.N. Reports on Developing Nations’ Energy Needs
It will cost between $500 & $600 billion every year for the next 10 years to allow developing nations to grow using renewable energy resources, instead of relying on dirty fuels that worsen global war
Uganda: Natures Pathways request volunteers to work on Bioenergy Programme
NATURES PATHWAYS Ventures request volunteers to work on their BIO ENERGY Programme: how to process biofuels from candle nut, castor and jatropha and how to make Biochar from candle nut, castor and pal
Uganda: Small community based organisation seeks partners interested in biomass developments
"We seek to improve the quality of life of the poor community in Uganda as part of the Global Millenium Goals. We also work to enhance the capacity of commercial endeavours, and increase access to app
UK explores new ways of bringing clean energy to developing countries
Renewable energy provision in the developing world could receive a vital boost after the announcement of a new initiative which will look at how to stimulate investment in a low-carbon future for the
UKERC Annual Energy Summer School, 20-25 June 2010: Nominations now open
The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) is holding its sixth annual Energy Summer School from 20-25 June 2010 at the University of Warwick in the English Midlands. There will be 100 places available for

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  • A practitioner's journal on household energy, stoves and poverty reduction.

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