Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Burning issues: Tackling Indoor Air Pollution (Lancet)

From Mr. Lalloobhoy Battliwala

Quite well-written. I don't much care for Nine Working Groups or the WHO view, "“This is potentially one of the most affordable public health issues, ...because we can link it to the energy and climate change agenda—there's an exciting mix of benefits”.

This is an energy issue - supply chains for fuel/device combinations that give clean and convenient cooking - plain and simple. But the energy folks lost their way for over 30 years - obsessing over "efficient woodstoves for the rural poor", determined to save not people but twigs and manure, leaving people no option but a partial affordable shift to unduly expensive charcoal, LPG and electricity (yes; there's a nice picture story from Afghanistan in a GTZ report; even the poor use electricity if only to boil water for beverages). Or buy prepared foods.

The customer doesn't much care about efficiency, and who knows what the actual efficiencies for traditional fuels and devices are? Cleanliness and convenience matter; one doesn't need academic surveys, just look the market data.

I am waiting to see how many public health ministries and hospitals pick up the challenge of promoting/subsidizing healthier cooking (fuels and foods!). Otherwise, oil companies would be a good fit for modern biomass fuels and stoves. They could also sell solar lanterns. :-) And nobody would hold health ministries responsible for preventing x thousand deaths at y emission factors and z exposure rates.


Read the full report Burning issues: Tackling Indoor Air Pollution on Lancet, published May 7th, 2011

and more on indoor air pollution in this blog.

and more from Mr. Lalloobhoy Battliwala on stoves, indoor, and other topics.

1 comment:

homeowner said...
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