If there is a way to minimize glacier melt, while saving millions of lives, change in cooking habits might just be it. As various independent research organizations and alliances acknowledge the devastating effects of black smoke from cookstoves, scientists develop new technologies to prevent any irreversible damage.
Many of us find mud stoves somehow emblematic for the developing world. Anyone, who has traveled to rural Asia, Africa, or South America has taken at least one photograph of a woman sitting on the floor of a kitchen or on the street next to a smoking stove, preparing lunch or dinner for her family. What cannot be seen with a naked eye, however, is the impact this black smoke has on these woman’s health. Millions of women are exposed to black carbon pollution every day, developing severe heart and respiratory illnesses.
What is more, recent studies proved the relationship between increasing glacier melt, heating of the atmosphere and the black smoke from mud cooking stoves. The soot residue was found to deposit on the white snow or ice, making it darker and therefore absorbing heat much faster.
A new technology developed by the Delhi research institute, Teri, however, might be the kitchen equipment, which will save millions in the future. Scientists from the institute designed a new-style cooker, which uses only half the amount of needed wood fuel, while cutting the smoke by 80%.
This new cooker can already be seen in action in many Indian states. It consists of a twin stainless steel cylinder and a battery powered fan, which regulates the heat. The price of the invention is 40 British Pounds under a development scheme, which is supported by UK taxpayers’ aid.
Considering that currently there are about 2.5 billion people around the world, who are heavily dependent on mud stoves, the challenge would be to provide them all with the new technology. The developers are hoping to get the needed financial support by Western governments, who are now desperately trying to tackle carbon emissions.
One of the organizations, which is heavily involved in accomplishing the task, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, is promoting the uptake of clean cookers, by outlining the mutual benefits for both the U.S. and the developing countries. Although the progress is extremely slow, there is hope that the miracle invention will reach all homes in time.