Reports: 93,000 People Die From Firewood Smoke Annually - NGO - EazyFeeds

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Saturday 29 April 2017

Reports: 93,000 People Die From Firewood Smoke Annually - NGO

Women’s Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE) and Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) have trained 30 women from different communities across Kaduna State on how to use clean and energy-efficient cooking stoves.

WISE Founder and Programme Director Olanike Olugboji in Kaduna said that the training was aimed at curbing the increasing deaths, induced by inhalation of firewood smoke.

Olugboji said that more than 93,000 persons in the country, particularly women, died every year due to smoke inhalation while cooking with firewood.

She said that if a woman cooked breakfast, lunch and supper with firewood, the consequence of her action was equivalent to smoking three to 20 packets of cigarettes a day.

She said that smoke was the biggest killer of people, particularly women and children, after malaria and HIV/AIDS; adding that not less than 72 per cent of Nigerians solely depended on fuelwood for cooking their meals.

“Also, Nigeria’s fuelwood consumption is about 80 million cubic metres, making biomass fuel the most common source of household energy in Nigeria.

“The traditional cooking method using firewood burns 90 percent more wood than is necessary; costing poor families a lot of money which, otherwise, could have been spent on education, health and nutrition, among others.

“Similarly, governments have not made significant progress in the fight against deforestation because people have continued to use wood as cooking fuel, even in urban areas,’’ she said.

Olugboji noted that most people were either not aware of the grave health, environmental risks associated with traditional open fire cooking or could not afford cleaner options.

“Women sit around the fire while cooking, with eyes becoming red with tears, nose dripping, and sometimes, with babies strapped on their back.

“This affects pregnant women and their unborn babies; some become cancer patients, with lungs infections and other diseases, leading to preventable deaths.

“Some even got beaten whenever food is not ready on time because they are using firewood,’’ she said.

Olugboji said that the training was, therefore, designed to build a movement of women entrepreneurs and advocates of clean cooking stoves in their communities.

She said that the exercise was also aimed at creating the needed public awareness on the benefits of using clean cooking stoves.

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