Cooking over an open fire for a barbecue might add to the fun of a party but almost 4 million people are compelled to cook in such a way daily. This often turns out to be a lethal task for them who have to cook their food in open fire. Women living in slums in urban areas and villages have to work for long hours to keep up the fire burning. They breathe in smoke while doing so.
As per World Health Organization, this smoke equals to smoking tow packets of cigarettes per day. As a result, they face the risk of different deadly diseases like lung cancer and face other issues like respiratory problems, low birth weight, heart diseases, etc. That is not all; most of these women have small kids strapped to their back or chest, thereby exposing them to similar danger.
Nancy Hughes, a resident of Eugene, Oregon experienced this personally in Guatemala more than 10 years ago when she was assisting a medical team. Tubes couldn’t pass the throat of the babies as they were choked creosote. To improve the condition of such people, she worked with engineers for many years and created a stove, the Ecocina, which would pollute the environment lesser and keep the women and children safe. Her organization, StoveTeam International was founded in 2008 and it created more than 37,000 stoves which enhanced the lives of more than 280000 Latin American people.
The emissions of carbon and other particulate matter are reduced by 70% when the Ecocina is used. The combustion process of this stove is a cleaner one than that of open fire. ‘E’ in Ecocina stands for environmental whereas ‘cocina’ means kitchen in Spanish. What makes it more appealing is that no exterior chimney or installation is required for using this stove. It is portable and easy on the pocket. It costs around 40 to 45 dollars, which may be sold at 50 to 60 dollars depending on the area and other expenses involved in the manufacturing process.
The use of these stoves has helped people in more ways than one. Apart from reducing the health hazards and pollution, it has created opportunities for economic growth. Many factories are being started to manufacture more and more of these stoves. So employment opportunities are also increasing for the residents of those areas.
For cooking in open fire, around 50 to 100 pounds of wood are needed each day. Trees can be saved as the Ecocina requires 50 percent lesser firewood. So, the Ecocina is also doing its bit in saving the environment.