Improved stoves for better health
Nepal will produce nearly half a million improved cooking stoves over the next five years to benefit rural communities and bring the chance of better health to millions of people, particularly women and children.
The target of 475,000 stoves was set by the National Rural and Renewable Energy Programme, a new effort to bring all rural energy programmes under one management and funding body, and will be implemented by the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) , an autonomous government agency. The programme is supported by Denmark, Norway and the UK Department for International Development, among others.
“This should be of utmost priority. It is a problem of the really poor people of Nepal,” said Mrigendra Raj Pandey, a cardiologist and the first person to identify the health hazards of domestic smoke more than 40 years ago.
Most rural households in Nepal use traditional stoves that burn biomass – mainly wood, but also agricultural residue and animal dung – for cooking and heating. Such stoves are highly inefficient and emit large amounts of smoke that contribute to indoor air pollution.
There is strong evidence that indoor pollution causes pneumonia and other acute respiratory infections among children under five, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer in adults, according to the World Health Organization.