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UN says 1.6m people die yearly from stove fumes, globally

The United Nations (UN), says at least 1.6 million people around the world die yearly of smoke-related illnesses, due to inefficient cooking stoves.

The UN Development Programme, Global Environment Facility Integrated Approach Programme on Food Security (UNDP-GEF-IAP-FS), made the disclosure on Monday, in Abuja.

Ms. Rhoda Dia, Project Manager, Resilient Food Security Project, under the UNDP-GEF-IAP-FS Project, said the UN had, therefore, come up with an alternative to curb the ugly trend.

Ms. Rhoda Dia, Project Manager, Resilient Food Security Project, under the UNDP-GEF-IAP-FS Project

Dia said 70 communities across seven states of the Federation, had been selected to benefit from a training on the use of energy-efficient cooking stoves.

She listed the benefitting states to include, Adamawa, Benue, Nasarawa, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, and Gombe.

According to her, part of the project is to also teach beneficiaries alternative livelihood and additional job creation methods for the communities to compliment the project’s efforts on agroforestry intervention.

Dia said the project, aimed at reducing deforestation, was in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), to help beneficiaries address health, social and environmental problems arising from smokes.

She said the aim of the training was also to select five beneficiaries each from the seven states to learn how to produce and market energy-efficient cooking stoves at commercial quantity, to help protect health and create wealth.

Dia also said more than 70 percent of the Nigerian population cook with dirty fuels, leading to around 95,000 deaths annually.

According to her, the use of fuelwood costs more, and also ravages the forest, adding that it also contributes to climate change.

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“We are excited about the training, as it would contribute to reducing deforestation, erosion of watersheds, flooding, destruction of farmlands, and desertification,” she said.

She added that the energy-efficient cooking stoves were produced to address negative environmental, health, and social problems of cooking with traditional open fires and other inefficient cooking stoves.

Dia said the participants would enjoy immense benefits such as the reduction of indoor smoke levels by 90 percent and prevention of build-up of soot in the home and in the lungs.

She, therefore, said that efficient cooking practices would help reduce pressure on forests as less fuelwood would be used.

Mr. Israel Ozovehe, Managing Director, ISOPAC Global Resources Ltd, said about 67 percent of the Nigerian population was using the traditional cooking method of open fires (firewood), for cooking.

Ozovehe, who also listed the disadvantages of traditional methods of cooking, called for concerted efforts at tackling such, to curb the many health and environmental challenges they posed to humans. observed that about 50 beneficiaries from the seven states selected for the project, would take part in the four-day training in Abuja, on the production and marketing of energy-efficient cooking stoves.

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