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Friday, May 30, 2014

Clean energy for families

Ineffective burning of wood in traditional stoves causes the deaths of many people around the world.
More than three billion people still burn wood, dung, coal and other traditional fuels inside their homes. The resulting indoor air pollution is responsible for more than 1.5 million deaths a year – mostly of young children and their mothers. Millions more suffer every day with difficulty in breathing, stinging eyes and chronic respiratory disease.

1.5 billion people have no access to electricity, and 85% of the population in Africa don't yet have electricity. 400 million in India have no access to power.

Collecting Firewood
Collecting Firewood

There is enormous unmet demand for access to electricity and clean energy.

Energy is essential to meet our most basic needs: cooking, boiling water, lighting and heating. It is also a prerequisite for good health – a reality that has been largely ignored by the world community.

One of the greatest energy needs across the world is for cooking, something which we take for granted. Without a decent energy supply, people are forced to rely on biomass - wood or animal dung - for cooking. Women and children can spend hours every day searching for increasingly scarce resources. Once they start burning biomass, the thick acrid smoke cause's serious lung diseases turning kitchens into death traps.

Children and their mothers are most at risk, choking, retching and gasping to get air to their lungs which are being attacked and destroyed by smoke. More people die from smoke inhalation than malaria.

According to the World Health Organisation, diseases associated with indoor air pollution claim 1.5 million lives every year - that's one person every 20 seconds.