DECREASING AND PREVENTING INDOOR AIR POLLUTION FROM COOKING ACTIVITIES

IN RURAL AREAS OF THE DEVELOPING WORLD


INTRODUCTION

    Indoor air quality is well known to be a major health issue in areas of the least developed countries of the world. In fact, both the largest indoor concentrations of many dangerous pollutants and the greatest exposure to these pollutants are found in rural areas of the developing world. [1]  The main consequence of poor air quality is severe respiratory illness and death. 2.7 to 2.8 million deaths a year are attributed to indoor air pollution with special attention paid to the impact of indoor air pollution on younger children.[2]  Since indoor pollution occurs inside of small homes in the developing world there is a great risk to children who are both consistently around the home and whose immune systems are not as strong as there adult counterparts. Besides its immediate health affects, indoor air pollution causes damage to housing materials, affects visibility and causes odor and visual problems. While smoking tobacco is a widespread practice in many communities, the main source of indoor air pollution is attributed to household cooking with wood and other biofuels. Indoor air pollution is caused both by the open fires used to cook food and by the practices associated with the kitchen and meal preparation. 

    Solutions to this problem have ranged from the implementation of improved stoves to communal food preparation to improved cooking methods that cut down on cooking time. There are a wealth of studies, reports and information available in literature and on the internet about the various solutions to the problem of indoor air pollution in the lesser developed world. As some of these sources attest, it is important for not only the proposed solution to physically accomplish its goal but also for the solution to be accepted by the household and/or village that is implementing it. Only solutions that are adequate and appropriate are acceptable and will help the community in the long term.

The purpose of this web site is:

                        1.To briefly describe the constituents of indoor air pollution in the developing world.
               
                        2. To describe several methods and specific technologies and/or practices of improving indoor air quality.
               
                        3. To present factors that need to be considered when deciding which methods  should be used to improve indoor air quality.


1.   Hessen, Jens Olav, Schei, Morton A., Pandey, Mrigendra R. Motivational Factors Relating to Improving Indoor Air Quality in Rural Nepal BioOne www.bioone.org/bioone

2.     Bruce, N., Perez-Padilla, R., Albalak, R. (2000) Indoor air pollution in developing countries: a major environmental and public health challenge. Bulletin of the World Health
        Organization, 78 (9), 1078-1098.


This Page was created by Josepine Kaiser and Matthew Babcock, students in the Michigan Tech Peace Corps Environmental Engineering Masters International Graduate Program.
Page created on 4/15/04
Page last modified on 5/4/04

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