Patna, 28th June 2016: Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) launched ‘Clean Cooking Bihar’ campaign by giving 12 environment friendly cook stoves to highlight the issue of air pollution in Patna. CEED’s report ‘Air Pollution Begins at Home’ estimates about 1.38 lakh households in Patna rely on solid fuel and traditional cook stoves for domestic cooking despite their negative impact on health. CEED urges the government to immediately implement a strong program to replace solid fuel with clean energy in Patna.
While talking at the event, Ms. Garima Choudhary, Program Officer – CEED, stated that “burning solid fuels causes indoor air pollution due to emission of harmful substances such as carbon monoxide and particulates 2.5 and 10 at levels up to 100 times higher than the recommended limits set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The usage of bio-mass or solid fuel contributes to massive level of air pollution in Patna”.
Ishrat Bano, a resident from Phulawari gravely mentions that she lost her husband because of tuberculosis, and since then her daughter wants an LPG cooking gas in the house but she cannot afford it. It is due to lack of money that her family relies on fuel wood for cooking. Bano is grateful and happy with this modern cook stoves, as it will help her save time and money. “I will not lose more members from my family due to health problem caused by smoke”, Bano adds with a grim yet determined voice.
While giving away the improved cook stoves to families, Mr. Naveen Mishra, Head-Operations, CEED; elucidates that “the environment friendly stoves will be of great help to families, as it will save time and money. It doesn’t emit toxic smokes that cause multiple health problems. We aim to mobilize 25000 households in next three months in support of clean cooking campaign. We urge the government to immediately work on existing Ujjawala scheme to include these families as part of the initiative. This will help in curbing air pollution in Patna”, Mr. Mishra concluded.
Sarita Devi from Danapur said, “We are forced to use solid fuels for cooking because the government scheme on clean cooking has not reached us. Half of my productive time is dedicated for cooking and that too around toxic smoke. My eyes have a perpetual burning sensation due to the smoke making them watery and bloodshot, and I also find it extremely difficult to breathe”. Sarita Devi now cooks in her new stove. She admits that the smoke coming out of stove is far less and it also takes lesser time to prepare food.
Inhalation of toxic fumes emitted by traditional cook stoves causes acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI), chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), lung cancer, cataracts and other ailments.
For households with indoor kitchen facilities, majority of them are poorly lit and sparsely ventilated; increasing the risk of inhaling harmful smoke, gases and particulates. For households without indoor kitchen facilities, cooking is usually done in the corner of a room, sometimes separated by a half wall that leads to smoke filling the entire house and impacting other members of the family as well.
CEED urges the government to provide a concrete solution by eliminating all traditional cook stoves and replenishing them with LPG connection to all beneficiaries. Meanwhile these stoves can be distributed to curb health risks involved, especially for the women in the households. Using these stoves shall also help them save money and time.