The Federal Ministry of Environment said last week that it had provided 3,000 rural women clean-cooking stoves in 2012, in line with its National Clean Cooking Scheme.
A Senior Research Assistant, Renewable Energy Programme in the ministry, Mrs Ebere Akwani, said this in an interview with news men in Abuja.
Akwani said that the ministry had established a five-year programme to promote renewable energy and to create awareness on the need to imbibe clean cooking technologies.
“More than 80 per cent of the rural women in Nigeria still cook with a three-stone-fire place. The effect of smoke inhalation is better imagined than said.
“The woman that is cooking three meals a day on the open fire in an enclosed place usually smokes an average of between three and 18 packets of cigarette a day. That is on her health.
“ On the environment, of course as you are felling trees, we are creating path ways for flash floods and of course extreme heat.’’
The official, however, said that the ministry had just launched the Rural Women Energy Security (RUWES) project to further create awareness on clean cooking energy.
According to her, RUWES is a three-pronged project which seeks to address the need for clean cooking, heating and lighting technologies and cater for rural women.
She said it would also cater for the needs of women who were exposed to dirty energy practice that pushed them further down the poverty line.
“ The Rural Women Energy Security (RUWES) was borne out of the need to improve the health of the woman, improve her economy as a whole and improve her environment.
“Under the RUWES, we have the National Clean Cooking Scheme, which is very practical about stopping the use of firewood, especially for cooking.
“Firewood emits black carbon, Kerosene emits black carbon which are all Short Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) that wreak havoc on the environment, reduce agricultural yields and some many other negative consequences that come from SLCP.’’Akwani stressed the need for a shift in the prevalent energy methods as climate change and global warming threaten humanity.
The official said that there would be two projects under the RUWES to address cooking, heating and lighting.
She said the projects included the National Clean Cooking Scheme (NCCS), which seeks to address the need for clean cooking technologies and the Rural Energy Access Project (REAP).
She added that the REAP would stimulate rural demands for clean energy lighting and heating solutions.
“The need for a shift in our prevalent cooking methods is evident as desertification is a menace occasioned by tree felling for cooking and heating purposes.
“In addition, the scarcity of kerosene is a present worry for those that rely on fossil fuel for household cooking.
“Indoor air pollution from cooking, using biomass like wood fuel causes more than a million premature deaths every year, which is already more than the toll from malaria, HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis combined.’’
The UNEP report released in July 2013 stated that cooking with kerosene is as dangerous as cooking with firewood.
Akwani said it was the responsibility of the government to proffer viable and sustainable alternatives to wood fuel for cooking.
“The clean cooking stoves being introduced will ensure the success of the various tree planting campaigns nationwide as well as curb deforestation.
“For as long as there is no alternative to firewood, trees will be felled for fuel,’’ she added.