Solid fuel burning leads to air pollution in Patna: CEED urges government to take immediate action for clean cooking

Patna 27th May 2016: Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) released a report on cooking practices in Patna titled “Air pollution begins at home”. The report presents prominent situation of air pollution in the city due to burning of solid fuel for cooking practices. The report further reveals new figures on the existing use of solid fuels for domestic cooking and lightning purposes for Patna Urban Agglomeration Area (PUAA). The report advocates for serious and urgent efforts for transition to cleaner/sustainable forms of energy in Patna.

While releasing the report Ramapati Kumar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CEED said, “Inefficient cooking stoves lead to toxic smoke which creates environmental health risk. Women and children are exposed to toxic chemicals. Burning of solid fuels emits complex mix of pollutants, mainly particulate matter and black carbon. Its shocking to witness that large number of households in Patna still depends on solid fuel. Bihar government should implement stronger actions to transform cooking practices for safe and healthy lifestyle”, he further added.

Presenting the findings of report, Ms. Ankita Jyoti, Program Manager, said that “an overwhelming 1.38 lakh households in Patna rely on solid fuel and traditional cook stoves for domestic cooking despite their negative impact on health. This dependency on solid fuel results into enormous emission of particulate matter and putting people’s health at risk. The predominance of health complaints such as eye irritation, visual impairment, watery eyes, muscles fatigue and respiratory problems were observed”, she further added. “It was observed that 72% of Women and children are at higher risk”, Ms. Jyoti concluded.

The report represents a dismal situation of air pollution in Patna associated with usage of bio mass for cooking. It is estimated that 831.54 tons of toxics particulate matter and 232 tons of black carbon is added in the atmosphere. The report also projects a trend of pollution, which can reach to 1.32 lakh tons of (PM 2.5 ) by 2051. “Bihar faces a historic moment as the government promised eradication of energy poverty by year 2017 but clean and safe methods of cooking from better fuels is given a little attention in the state”, said Mr. Kumar. The present situation warrants immediate transition to cleaner/sustainable forms of energy for cooking. We need to declare a war on traditional methods of cooking to safeguard women’s health. Transition requires a system that collates technological upgradation, implementation plans, monitoring strategies and clear timelines to phase-out the bio-mass from cooking”, he concluded.

CEED demands from government to phase out dirty fuel from cooking to safeguard the health of women and children and a combination of technology depending on adoptability, affordability and potential should be encouraged to smoothen the transition.