From: Reuters
Published April 13, 2008 06:21 AM

Bangladesh introduces improved stove to save fuel

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh has introduced an improved cooking stove that will consume 50 percent less of the biomass used for cooking in rural areas, a senior official said on Sunday.

"About 95 percent of Bangladesh, with 145 million people, uses traditional fuels like cow dung, agricultural wastage and wood totalling 60 million tonnes most inefficiently, worth 100 billion taka ($1.46 billion)," said Erich Otto Gomm, program coordinator in Bangladesh of German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

The ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, with the financial and technical assistance of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, through GTZ, introduced an environmentally friendly stove that also saves biomass by more than 50 percent, he said.

"Poorly ventilated clay stoves that produce smoke, carbon monoxide and carcinogens pose a serious health threat to women and children," Erich told a news conference.

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He said that according to the World Health Organization, 46,000 women and children in Bangladesh die each year, while millions more suffer from respiratory, tuberculosis and cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer due to the "killer in the kitchen."

"Biomass is also becoming increasingly scarce and costly, putting pressure on the farmers to use more chemical fertilizer instead of bio-fertilizer," said Khaleq Uzzaman, senior adviser of Sustainable Energy for Development (SED).

The SED launched a countrywide program to popularize the improved cooking stoves developed by the state-run Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and later modified by the GTZ.

Khaleq said so far 35,000 stoves have been sold and installed across the country and now up to 10,000 were being built every month.

"Our aim is to build 1 million stoves over the next three years," he said, and hoped to have one in every rural Bangladeshi home by the end of 2018.

Currently, only 6 percent of the population has access to natural gas, primarily in urban areas, he told reporters.

($1=68.58 taka)

(Reporting by Serajul Islam Quadir; Writing by Anis Ahmed, editing by Will Waterman)

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