Despite advances in efficient fuels as well as renewal energy devices, one in three people will still be using polluting cooking fuels in 2030 a new study has found. The study says that just under 3 billion people worldwide will still be using polluting fuels such as wood fuels and charcoal at the end of the decade.
Researchers have warned that the use of these fuels is a major source of disease and environmental destruction and devastation in regions where such type of cooking fuels are being used and that steps need to be taken to alleviate the use of such fuels.
Scientists have further said that this number rises to more than four-in-five in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of people mainly using polluting fuels is growing at an alarming rate.
These ‘dirty’ fuels are a source of major health risk as they produce high levels of household air pollution – chronic exposure to which increases the risk of heart disease, pneumonia, lung cancer and strokes, amongst others.
While the overall percentage of the global population mainly using polluting cooking fuels has been steadily decreasing since 1990, this trend is already showing signs of stagnation. Six in in ten people in rural areas are still reliant on biomass fuels such as wood and charcoal.
Reports by the WHO and others have attributed household air pollution from these fuels to millions of deaths per year – comparable to the death toll from outdoor air pollution. At the same time, fuel collection is often tasked to women and children, reducing opportunities for educationor income generation
Polluting fuels are also an important cause of environmental degradation and climate change, with the black carbon from residential biomass cooking estimate to account for 25% of anthropogenic global black carbon emissions each year.
The researchers insist the pivotal new study shows that, although progress has been made, the quest to deliver universal access to clean cooking by 2030 is “far off track”.
They believe that global leaders and policy makers need to make significant advancements, in the short-term future, to help combat the health and environmental risks of household air pollution.
The study is published in Nature Communications on the 4th of October 2021.