Nepalâs Government has committed to make all homes smoke-free by 2017.
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai says the government’s aim is to reduce the use of traditional biofuels and promote alternative energy.
Traditional cookstoves are a growing source of carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions around the world, but do not receive the same attention as other sources of pollution, such as power stations, aviation and transport.
The smoke produced from dirtier stoves generates potent greenhouse gases such as black carbon (soot) which account for 16-18% of warming, compared with 40% for Co2.
Indoor air pollution from cooking on open fires also accounts for an estimated 1.5 million premature deaths annually among women and children through bronchitis and other lung conditions.
That is the equivalent of one person every 21 seconds – more people die from indoor air pollution than from malaria.
The news was been welcomed by Ewan Bloomfield, an energy consultant for NGO Practical Action, which has advocated action on indoor air pollution in Nepal for many years.
âThe commitment from the Nepalese government to eradicate indoor air pollution (IAP) by 2017 is hugely welcome and they deserve great praise for making such a bold inspirational statement,â he said.
âIt is the first time such a commitment has been made and if it is met, it will ensure massive improvements to public health, land management and deforestation in Nepal, as well as hopefully inspiring other countries in the region to make similar commitments.
âHowever, in order to achieve their target a huge effort will be required, as currently 85% of people in Nepal still cook on open fires.
âIt will require a sustained and coordinated effort in order to make such a wholesale change a reality.”