Uganda mother and children

The smoky smell of a wood fire may remind you of camping trips or summer barbecues. But for people living in rural Uganda, it’s part of daily life. It’s also potentially lethal.

Cooking over a wood fire produces air pollution that can cause respiratory illness and disease.

De Belloy: “Remember that in a country like Uganda, women cook all day and the children are next to their mothers, so the children are breathing in smoke all day. That kind of air pollution leads to about 20,000 deaths per year in Uganda.”

Marisa de Belloy works with an environmental crowd-funding organization called “Cool Effect.” The group offers a safer alternative to traditional cook fires: stoves that burn 50 percent less wood.

Burning less wood means less dangerous air pollution. It also means fewer trees are cut down and burned — which reduces climate-warming carbon pollution. In Uganda alone, the stoves have cut emissions by a million tons per year.

Cool Effect has distributed several hundred thousand cookstoves at little or no cost to families. And de Belloy hopes the stoves will become more popular as more families realize they can save money on fuel.

And in the long term, they can improve their health and help limit global warming.

Reporting credit: Rosie Simon/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo courtesy of CoolEffect.

Filed under: , ,