The Importance of Clean Cookstoves – A Personal Experience


When I was in Tanzania in October I went into a traditional Massai hut where a mother was inside making beans in a kettle over a red hot fire. The fire was ridiculously hot and I couldn’t believe how the woman and her family could endure the heat and smoke from cooking.

While I was in Ethiopia last year observing frontline health workers with Save the Children I had the unfortunate circumstance of going into a traditional hut where the mother was cooking on her indoor cookstove. The smoke from the burning wood was so thick and powerful I could hardly breathe and again couldn’t imagine a family, let alone children and babies, being in an enclosed area with that much damaging smoke.

In Ethiopia communities recognize families as “model families” if they have two separate homes – one for living and one for cooking — but many do not have the resources to create a separate space for cooking.

When you visit developing countries where there is widespread cookstove use you will see children who have a lot of mucus in their noses. Cookstove smoke causes increased risk of pneumonia, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease. And 2 million people die every year because of indoor health pollution.

Now that I have experienced how harmful cookstoves are I am more adamant about how important clean cookstoves are to the health and well-being of families, particularly women and children.

Read more about what you can do to advocate for clean cookstoves at the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing about a topic that most people are not aware of. As the mother of a toddler, I cringe to think about all of the babies and toddlers enduring that smoke and the damage it is doing to their bodies.

  2. We couldn’t agree more. The Himalayan Stove Project is a humanitarian & philanthropic program. It is dedicated to preserving the Himalayan environment and improving the health of the people living in the trans-Himalayan region. We donate and distribute, free, clean-burning, fuel-efficient Envirofit cook stoves, transforming the lives of individuals and families who now cook with traditional, rudimentary stoves or over open fire pits inside their homes, consuming excessive amounts of precious fuel and polluting the indoor air to dangerously unhealthy levels. As Julia Roberts says, we strongly believe that cooking shouldn’t kill. http://www.himalayanstoveproject.org/transforming-lives/

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