Improving Indoor Air Quality For Poor Families: A Controlled Experiment In Bangladesh
The World Health Organization’s 2004 Global and
Regional Burden of Disease Report estimates that
acute respiratory infections from indoor air pollution
(pollution from burning wood, animal dung, and other
bio-fuels) kill a million children annually in developing
countries, inflicting a particularly heavy toll on poor
families in South Asia and Africa.
This paper reports on an experiment that studied
the use of construction materials, space configurations,
cooking locations, and household ventilation practices
(use of doors and windows) as potentially-important
determinants of indoor air pollution. Results from
controlled experiments in Bangladesh are analyzed to
test whether changes in these determinants can have significant effects on indoor air pollution. Analysis of the
data shows, for example, that pollution from the cooking
area diffuses into living spaces rapidly and completely.
Furthermore, it is important to factor in the interaction
between outdoor and indoor air pollution. Among fuels,
seasonal conditions seem to affect the relative severity
of pollution from wood, dung, and other biomass fuels.
However, there is no ambiguity about their collective
impact. All are far dirtier than clean fuels.
The analysis concludes that if cooking with clean fuels
is not possible, then building the kitchen with porous
construction material and providing proper ventilation
in cooking areas will yield a better indoor health