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Kitchen Smoke health hazard, says Energy Expert

A woman engulfed in smoke while cooking in the open at Kaptembwo slums in Nakuru town.

A renewable energy expert Patrick Nzioka has identified kitchen smoke as a major health hazard due to indoor air pollution.

Nzioka said kitchens in households, institutions, especially in the rural areas and low-income dwellings in urban areas are dens of deadly smoke.

Nzioka was speaking Monday during a workshop on renewable energy in a Nakuru hotel.

“Every time a meal is prepared in these kitchens that use biomass, firewood, cow dung and charcoal there is a corresponding health hazard as a result of indoor air pollution,’’ he said.

He said when carbon burns, it reacts with air either to produce carbon dioxide or in most cases due to inefficiency in combustion, deadly carbon monoxides.

He said cooking with open stoves that use firewood or paraffin was akin to inviting a health risk, especially in the respiratory system.

Nzioka said the smokes in kitchens were linked to ailments such as pneumonia, asthma, respiratory tract infections, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary disorder.

He said, unfortunately, its women and children who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, inhaling the smoke that pays the highest price adding that worldwide, over three million people are at risk of kitchen air pollution and one million die annually due to indoor pollution.

Nzioka said the ongoing rain season was making the combustion in kitchens worse due to the cold weather and urged the government to assist those who cannot afford improved stoves purchase them.

He added that the dream of achieving one hundred percent access to clean cooking energy by 2030 may not be realized unless the government makes a concerted efforts to assist the poor.

By Veronica Bosibori

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