Why in news?
- A recent study has stated that the single greatest contributor to air pollution in India is the burning of solid fuels in households.
Household air pollution (HAP):
- Cooking using solid fuels (such as wood, crop wastes, charcoal, coal and dung) and kerosene in open fires and inefficient stoves causes household pollution.
- These cooking practices are inefficient, as they produce a range of health-damaging pollutants, including PM 2.5, small soot particles that penetrate deep into the lungs.
- In poorly ventilated dwellings, indoor smoke can be 100 times higher than acceptable levels for fine particles.
- Exposure is particularly high among women and young children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth.
- Moreover, the HAP produced indoors travel outdoors and become a contributor to ambient air pollution.
- In India, in states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Assam, around 1% of the rural population regularly uses solid fuels.
- Household air pollution causes no communicable diseases including stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.
- Each year, close to 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution.
- Close to half of deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 years of age are caused by particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.
- Black carbon (sooty particles) and methane emitted by inefficient stove combustion are powerful climate change pollutants.
- The ingestion of kerosene is the leading cause of childhood poisonings.
- A large fraction of the severe burns and injuries occurring in low- and middle-income countries are linked to household energy use for cooking, heating and/or lighting.