Traditionally cooking for own families represents one of the main priorities of women. Cooking does not mean just frying an egg or making a cake, but looking after people around you as an angel of the heart, to make sure each aspect of the everyday life proceeds as it should be.
However for three billion people the simple act of cooking provokes four million premature deaths every year due to smoke exposure. In addition to that, it also responsible for the 200,000 deaths occurring each year from severe burns.
No matter where you come from: women should have the same rights everywhere
The HuffingtonPost reported the story of a young pregnant woman from Bangladesh, Miss Poly, survived after a kerosene cook stove explosion while she was preparing the dinner for her husband. Fortunately, she was later able to give birth to a baby girl, but due to severe burns on her hands and upper body, she was unable to pick up her newborn child.
Unfortunately Miss Poly’s story is not an isolated one. In Bangladesh, burns from fires kill more women than road injuries and are the 11th leading cause of death for girls ages 5-14.
As a proper full-time job, the reality for the most part of women who live in areas where there is no access to clean cookstoves and fuels, is characterised by searching for fuel, spending hours cooking your family’s food over an open fire with your eyes burning and lungs struggling from the constant smoke.
This has been explained to us by another Indian woman. Indeed, as reported by the Inter Press Service, Kehmli Devi, a middle-aged woman from the village of Chachadeth in India’s northern Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, says it takes around 6 hours to gather firewood and she does it every day, for years, to prepare her family’s meals on a wood-burning stove. She is one of millions of Indian women who cannot afford cooking gas using firewood as a source of free fuel.
Zeba Begam, a woman resident in Rakh, a village in southern Kashmir, says to not have enough money, otherwise she would have used LPG cylinders for cooking, but as the poverty of the whole family they do not have any other option than firewood.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around three billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and mud stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste), as well as coal. Furthermore, the WHO estimates that around 4.3 million people die each year from diseases attributable to indoor air pollution, including from chronic respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, lung cancer and even strokes.
Indoor air pollution has been recognised as a pressing issue around the world, particularly in Asia, with huge risks in India. Indeed, data from the Government of India’s 2011 Census shows an estimated 75 million rural households (45 percent of total rural households) living without electricity, while 142 million rural households (85 percent of the total) depend entirely on biomass fuel, such as cow-dung and firewood, for cooking.
Despite authorities in New Delhi trying to sort the problem out thanks to subsidisation since 1985 to make cleaner fuels like LPG available to the poor, millions of households still struggle to make the necessary payments for cleaner energy, opting then for more traditional but dangerous substances.
That’s why the necessity to invest in research and development for safer cooking technologies and make sure also the most vulnerable have access to them is becoming even more an indisputable priority.
As a matter of fact, the HuffingtonPost has reported another story regarding a 39-year-old woman, Martha Lobulu, serving as an inspiration to other Maasai women, teaching them about the health issues related to household air pollution and the benefits of cleaner cookstoves.
Indeed, she lived in a rural area of Tanzania, exposed with her three children to household air pollution caused by the traditional fires used for cooking. After learning about clean cookstoves and the dangers of household air pollution, Martha changed her own cooking habits and also went on to direct a team of cookstove installers in her community. As a result, she has reduced the levels of toxic smoke in her home and cut her own wood use by half, saving considerable time on fuel collection.
Following what has been reported, it appears clear the household air pollution cannot be ignored any longer. Beyond all the consequences which could follow, the main fact concerns the recognition of fundamental rights for women and children, no matter where they live.
It would be essential to guarantee the whole world safer methods for heating and cooking, without compromising even usual domestic practises of everyday life.
The first step would consist of involving associations and governments to have them working together on the development of new technologies able to reach high safety standards. Following these instructions, Aburi Composites is going through the development of a new technology able to reach such standards and lead the whole industry to a massive revolution that may this time answers to all consumers’ expectations.
For this reason, Aburi Composite is by LPG promoting initiatives side, in order to get rid of firewood and kerosene progressively and, at the same time, allow women and children to have normal cooking experiences as everyone else does, by reducing any risks of blasts or fear of physical damage.
In the current millennium it does not represent even a headway towards the progress, but the normality every human being deserves to live.