Majority of Ghanaians continue to rely on solid fuels (charcoal, Firewood) for cooking and heating purposes, a situation experts say is putting pressure, on the country’s forest cover, while derailing Ghana’s hopes of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal 13.
Even though the use of improved cooked stoves is one of the cheapest means of cooking and has minimal effect on human health as well as the environment, the technology appears to have been neglected.
It is estimated that over 13,000 people, mostly women and children die annually in Ghana as a result of household air pollution coming from solid fuels such as charcoals, firewood among others.
According to Mr Dramani Bukari, Renewable Energy adviser at SNV, “only 21.7% of the Ghanaian population have access to clean cooking technologies and fuels. 22.1 million People in Ghana still rely on solid fuels for cooking and heating.”
Mr Bukari informed journalists recently at a workshop held in Elmina in the Central Region that relying on traditional cooking methods have serious health, environmental and economic consequences.
He stated that four million deaths occur annually globally and over 13000 in Ghana through exposure to HAP causing acute, pneumonia, lower respiratory infections, lung cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke.
This,he pointed out comes as a result of lack of clear policy direction and clear strategy or programme for the attainment of improved cook stove targets of 2 million in INDC, 1.3 million draft renewable energy master plan 2.4 million by GHACCO.
Mr Bukari added, “We thinks that improved cook stoves remains an important transition fuel or technology that ought to be considered and that the marginalization of the improved cooked stove sector in Ghana is something that ought to be revised.”
He maintained that some level of action ought to be taken for the country to realize the growth of the improved cook stove sector. He said there exist some target to get Ghanaians hooked onto improved cook stoves but these goals are nowhere yet to be realized.
“I think that we cannot just set target and leave them aloof, concrete and deliberate actions ought to be taken to realise them,” he added.
He bemoaned that a number of household in Ghana are unaware of the consequences of relying on traditional cooking fuel and “if we want to create a thriving cook stoves sector, we must provide incentives for manufacturers of improved cook stoves.”
He mentioned that there ought to be market for the manufacturers, while emphasizing the need to create awareness and let people know the consequences of using traditional cooking methods.
Going forward, he said, “we want to see change, a change that would ensure that consequences of the over 13, 000 people who lose their lives through household air pollution would be a thing of the past or would be reduced drastically.”
The media Training workshop was put together by SNV and facilitated by Trans Media Network.
SNV Netherlands Development is a not-for-profit international development organization that has built a long-term local presence in 38 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin-America. SNV Ghana implements projects to improve individual lives and contributes to solving global challenges in the areas of agriculture, energy, and water, sanitation & hygiene.
By Mohammed Suleman