Smoke - the killer in the kitchen

Open your eyes

Smoke from indoor cooking fires does more than get in your eyes - it can kill.

Each year the smoke from indoor cooking fires kills more people than malaria. More than 4 million lives lost, needlessly.

It's enough to bring tears to your eyes.

Please share this video, and help us to help them.


What is the killer in the kitchen?

More than four million people die each year as a result of inhaling lethal smoke from kitchen stoves and fires. Most of these deaths are a result of respiratory infections. Most victims are women and children under five. Smoke is the killer in the kitchen.

More than three billion people - half the world's population - depend on fuels such as wood, dung and coal for cooking, boiling water and heating.

Burning these fuels on rudimentary stoves or three-stone fires creates a dangerous cocktail of pollutants that can kill. It is the poorest who have to rely on the lowest grades of fuel, and are the most vulnerable. Every year smoke kills more people each year than malaria.

What can be done?

The problem seems immense - but there are amazingly simple, affordable and sustainable solutions:

Sheet metal smoke hoods channel cooking smoke out of the home. They are cost effective and efficient, reducing indoor smoke levels by up to 80%.

Improved cook stoves use one third of the amount of firewood as a traditional fire, reducing household smoke levels.

Fireless cookers use stored heat to cook food over a long period of time, saving fuel and reducing smoke.

Practical Action works with communities to use simple technologies like these to reduce indoor smoke - the killer in the kitchen.

We also work with governments and other agencies to scale up these technologies beyond our own projects.

Help us to promote sustainable solutions to energy access and indoor air pollution by sharing this page. Thank you.

International model and UN Ambassador Gisele Bündchen visited communities and Practical Action projects in Kenya to see at first hand the reality of energy poverty - and the difference that our solutions can make.

In particular, she looked at the ways in which African women and girls are transforming their lives and livelihoods through access to sustainable energy. Gisele visited an informal settlement in Kibera where very few people have access to electricity, and saw the innovative ways in which communities can gain access to a reliable source of energy by using waste as a resource.

In Kisumu in western Kenya she collected firewood with the local women of Kisumu, and found how locally produced, cost and fuel-effective technologies, such as stoves and smoke hoods, are making a real difference to rural Kenyan communities.

More about these practical and sustainable energy technologies


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