See what's cooking in Shimoga...

See what's cooking in Shimoga...

BREATHING EASY: Emission reduction stoves launched in Shimoga promise to reduce indoor air pollution.

In an attempt to tackle this issue and promote measures that reduce Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) caused by use of inefficient cook stoves, the Shell Foundation has launched a campaign in Karnataka’s Shimoga district to focus on promoting  ‘improved stoves’. Excerpts from an interview with Simon Bishop, Policy and Communications Manager for the Shell Foundation, Shimoga:

How are emission reduction stoves useful?

It has been estimated that if we could get an improved stove into every one of the 500 million homes in the world that still cook on open fires and traditional stoves this would reduce CO2 emissions by more than Britain’s annual CO2 output. Put another way, an improved stove used regularly each day for one year, offsets a return London to New York flight. Stoves also reduce black carbon. We are aware that there is some disagreement between scientists on just how big a role black carbon plays in climate change. If, in time, it is proven to play a significant role, then, improved cook stoves which have an estimated impact of 55% reduction in smoke levels and up to 40% reduction in fuel usage could represent a highly effective way to tackle black carbon emissions.

Why Shimoga?

The stove was chosen for a wide variety of reasons, such as:
Fuel usage: According to the 2001 census, 72% of households still cook using firewood. This rises to 92% in rural areas.
Improved cook stove availability: Manufacturers of high-quality improved stoves have a good footprint in Shimoga, so can deliver stoves to consumers quickly and reliably.
Population density: This means going to villages of more than 2000 people (otherwise audiences are too small, or the location too challenging to reach). A significant proportion of people in Shimoga live in 2000+ villages.

So, how will the stoves help?

Since biomass is likely to remain the main source of cooking fuel for a large majority of rural Indian households for many years to come, the main aim of the improved stoves is to retain the traditional style of cooking - using traditional fuels like wood - but reduce fuel use and the health impacts from Indoor Air Pollution.
The mode of use of both the Selco and Envirofit stoves strikes a close similarity to that of a traditional cook stove from the cooking methods to the placing of fuel in the stoves.

None of these stoves require prior installation, and maintenance mainly consists of clearing out the ashes from the cook stove.

Also, there is an ongoing (for the last two years) Monitoring and Evaluation Assessment of Improved Stove Projects in South India conducted by Berkeley Air, California and being implemented on ground by Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai which indicates significant reductions in carbon monoxide and particulate matters due to the use of alternative improved stove models by households in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

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