What you need to know:
- Although modern fuels and technologies are available, many households still rely on firewood due to limited access.
- In fact, the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey in 2014 reported that 58 percent of rural households and nine per cent of urban households use firewood as their primary cooking fuel.
“My name is Josephine Butasi, 68. I live in Bumula, Bungoma County. For the past 41 years, I have solely used firewood as cooking fuel. Unfortunately, my reliance on firewood has negatively affected my health and the environment.
Smoke has darkened my kitchen walls and left my iron sheets rusty and covered in black soot. Often times, the smoke irritates my eyes and forces me to leave the kitchen while cooking. I have been suffering from persistent cough and chest pain, unaware that it is directly related to smoke inhalation.
The government should implement a programme to support the community and promote the use of improved cooking stoves. We need assistance to tackle this issue as it puts our health and environment in danger. By encouraging the use of improved stoves, we can decrease smoke production and protect our well-being and the environment.
I am not facing this challenge alone. Climate change and pollution have become pressing issues globally. Governments and organisations have started implementing strategies to combat climate change and protect vulnerable communities.
I want to raise awareness about the impacts of firewood smoke in our daily lives.
I want to be a part of the solution. I want to inspire change and create a healthier and cleaner environment for future generations by sharing my story and advocating for improved cooking methods.
Indoor air pollution is a significant health issue in Kenya, especially in rural areas where biomass fuels such as firewood and charcoal are commonly used. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), indoor air pollution causes over 14,000 premature deaths in Kenya annually. It leads to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer and other health problems.
Although modern fuels and technologies are available, many households still rely on firewood due to limited access. The use of firewood is prevalent in both rural and urban areas. In fact, the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey in 2014 reported that 58 per cent of rural households and nine per cent of urban households use firewood as their primary cooking fuel.
Addressing indoor air pollution is crucial, and the African Union's Center for Disease Control and Prevention is actively working on this issue through research, advocacy and collaborations with national and international partners.
As individuals like me continue to raise our voices and share our experiences, we can shape policies and drive change towards a sustainable future. By working together, we can protect the well-being of all and combat the consequences of climate change.
My journey from relying on smoke-producing firewood to advocating for improved cooking methods reflects the challenges many people face in Bungoma County and beyond.
By raising awareness, advocating for improved cooking stoves and pushing for government support, we can create a healthier and cleaner environment for ourselves and future generations.
The time for action is now. Together, we can transform the smoke-filled kitchens of Bungoma County into spaces of clean air and sustainability. Let us turn our climate voices into a resounding call for change.”
-Compiled by Jesse Chenge