More than 2 billion people around the world cook over open fires or on simple stoves that are fueled by charcoal, wood, coal, or animal dung.
Burning these fuels releases carbon pollution into the atmosphere, which warms the climate. And when people cook this way indoors, they breathe in smoke and toxic fumes that can cause COPD, lung cancer, and other diseases.
The World Health Organization estimates that this household air pollution contributes to almost 4 million premature deaths each year.
“That is unacceptable,” Wanjira Mathai says. “There should be no excuse for people still dying from indoor air pollution.”
Mathai is vice president and regional director for Africa at the World Resources Institute, and she’s on the leadership council of the Clean Cooking Alliance.
The group works to improve people’s access to more efficient, modern stoves that emit less air pollution.
Despite many options, Mathai says cost remains a barrier for a lot of people.
“We have to make it possible through our legislation to manufacture locally and have the availability of these technologies at a price point that people can actually afford,” she says.
So they can cook meals without worrying about harming their health or the climate.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media