How LPG can reduce poverty
2 year old Ibrahim drinking water at home after spending the day with his mother Fatima Abbakar-Gedala at CARE food distribution in Djiogi, Chad. The Sahel fringe of Chad is in the grip of a food crisis. Chronic poverty combined with last year's failed crops have left people vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition. According to UN figures 3.6 million people are affected by the food crisis as of June 2012. People have been forced to sell livestock to buy food. Women and children are walking increasingly further in search of water, some spending as many as 12 hours a day at the chore. Men have left with livestock to search for pasture in the south of the country. Care has been distributing food aid and repairing wells in Biltene and other parts of Chad. Photo: Brendan Bannon

How LPG can reduce poverty

One of the main challenges the LPG industry is facing concerns the introduction of this clean fuel in rural areas, in order to eradicate the use of solid fuels especially for cooking, like wood fire and kerosene, in poor countries.

Switching to LPG – a clean burning, efficient, safe and practical household fuel for cooking and water heating – could be a major contribution to eradicating energy poverty, bringing considerable health, developmental and environmental benefits.

The physical properties of LPG make it suitable to be carried easily under moderate pressure in special designed cylinders. As for its portability, it is ideal for applications in locations that cannot be supplied with natural gas or a pipeline network. Furthermore, its high calorific value in liquid form reduces transportation costs and making easier to handle than other oil-based fuels, wood and coal.

How LPG can save poor countries

If we compare energy supply patterns between industrialised and developing countries, an evident difference emerges. As reported by an article of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),

whilst the OECD countries rely on biomass fuels (wood and by-products, waste, woody fibers) for only 3.4 % of their total fuel-mix (using modern high efficiency conversion technologies), developing countries at large depend on traditional biomass fuels (charcoal, fuel wood, agricultural residues and animal dung) for just over 26 % of their total fuel mix.

Indeed, apart from ensuring environmental sustainability, introducing the LPG establishment to poor countries would benefit several sectors not even connected to each other.

Energy inputs such as heat from fuels are essential to generate jobs and income, agricultural processing and add value through crop-drying, food preservation and micro-enterprises using heat such as for glass-making, metal-casting, ceramics and commercial food-vending.

However, the introduction of LPG could promote both gender equality and universal primary education. It is essential to remember adult women are responsible for the majority of household cooking and water-boiling activities, which take time away from other productive activities. Without modern fuels and stoves for food preparation and processing women often remain toiling due to lack of heat-related energy services. Furthermore, even if there were adequate schools, teachers and resources to supply books and materials, many children, especially girls, cannot attend primary schools due to family fuel requirements often entailing them to carry wood to meet family subsistence needs. Children attending schools in rural areas are often required to forage for fuel wood for the teachers and to heat the school itself.

Lack of clean boiled water and respiratory illness caused by the effects of indoor air pollution from traditional fuels and stoves directly contribute to infant and child diseases and mortality.

The introduction of LPG could save millions of lives from HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, (one of the severest plague faced in these countries) induced poverty and deforestation from increased natural resources dependency. In order to deliver an effective service, health-care facilities, doctors nurses require fuels. Long-haul trucking, important for solid fuels including charcoal, and sexual assault on women and girls collecting wood are known as transmission factors for the spread of HIV/AIDS.

About initiatives

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, launched in 2010 a global initiative aimed at achieving every universal access, called Sustainable Energy for All. In 2012, WLPG Association launched the initiative Cooking for Life, in order to bring LPG to the billions of people in parts of the world where health and safety are threatened everyday by cooking with solid fuels.

Campaigns have been launched aiming to raise awareness about the health and safety risks associated with kerosene and wood fire. Particularly, these initiatives convene governments, public health officials, the energy industry and global NGOs to seek practical ways of expanding access to LPG.

Conclusion

In the light of what has been reported, the transition to modern fuels in poor countries would increase the life style of millions of people, by guaranteeing a beneficial long-term prospective.

Thanks to the initiatives lead by the main associations involved in the LPG industry, the process of raising awareness on this subject needs governments to be more supportive in order to be completely effective.

In line with the campaigns aimed to promote universal access to LPG and raising awareness to the range of benefits deriving from this clean fuel, Aburi Composites provide a revolutionary product, composite LPG cylinders, which can reach the high safety standards required by the market and ensure benefits worldwide.