From: Ashfaq Yusfzai and T. V. Padma, SciDevNet, More from this Affiliate
Published April 20, 2012 06:43 AM

Are "improved" Cookstoves in Pakistan better than the traditional ones?

Programs to provide rural Pakistani households with so-called improved cookstoves have had a muted response due to a lack of awareness among target communities — particularly among the women who do the cooking, a study has found.


The finding comes as separate research suggests that some improved cookstove models actually cause more pollution than traditional mud stoves.

Traditional stoves — which run on biomass such as crop waste, dung and twigs — are known to cause indoor air pollution. Indoor and outdoor air pollution have been identified by the WHO has causing an estimated two million deaths each year.

Since the 1970's there has been a concerted international effort on the part of governments and non-governmental organisations to produce and distribute so-called 'improved cookstoves' that are more efficient and release less smoke.

But in Pakistan, the stoves have not been adopted as quickly as had been hoped, according to Inayatullah Jan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Agricultural University in Peshawar.

Jan led a study in rural northwest Pakistan, which found only one in five households sampled had chosen to use an improved cookstove.

The low uptake, Jan told SciDev.Net, was due to a range of factors, including poor awareness of the health risks and environmental impact of traditional stoves; low education levels among household members, particularly women; a lack of authority among women to make decisions on cookstove adoption; and low incomes.

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