BIO102 Environment and People
Dr. Mike Mooring
09 December 2015
Indoor Air Pollution in Sub-Saharan Africa
Environmental pollution is a major topic and a major global challenge that has become very popular over the last few decades. Air pollution has specifically gained major interests from researchers, governments, and international organizations due to the major impacts associated with it. When a topic such as air pollution is mentioned, most of the people will automatically link it to the idea of things like smog, power plants and emissions from vehicles. However, these are considered examples of outdoor air pollutants.
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Wood from trees and leftovers from crops or other harvests are often viewed as cleaner but because of it’s moisture content, it produces plumes of smoke that can suffocate the occupants of a home. Wood and crop residuals also burn much more rapidly and less efficiently that previously charred material so more mass of wood must be used. Coal is sometimes used but not very often in developing countries as it is more expensive or harder to gather with the primitive technologies in these regions. Most of these are burned indoor either in open fires or in poorly functioning stoves and cookers.
Solid fuels can be burned in many ways. Many homes simply use the open fire technique or the fire pit technique which consist of just burning the fuel on the ground of a home usually encompassed by rocks or in a shallow hole dug into the ground so it is surrounded by earth matter. Rocks or metal grates are also used with this method to support the pot or cooking implement. Another example of solid fuel consumption is with “rocket stove” or other chimney possessing stove/furnace. The purpose is to try to force the particulate out of the chimney and out of the home. Unfortunately there must be an opening to the flame on which to place the cookware which leaves gaps for smoke and particulate to enter the residence. The last and most efficient, least detrimental, method is to use a personal solid fuel stove. Examples include forced air stoves and the “jiko” stove which combust biomass more thoroughly and efficiently but still do not solve the problem of smoke and particulate which is the major scope of this research.
Indoor air pollutants have been identified to be the cause of thousands of deaths each year as well as a considerable number of diseases and illnesses every year. The cases are even worse in the developing nations as most of the population rely on the use of solid fuel for cooking and lighting purposes. According to Bruce, Perez-Padilla and Albalak (1078), 50% of all the people in the world, mainly composed of people in the developing countries, rely on the use of coal and biomass for domestic energy and approximately 90% of the rural households in the developing countries rely on these fuels from unprocessed biomass. The results are that the air in the houses is highly polluted leading to exposure mainly to women and young children. Those there have been reports that the use of fuels from biomass fell from 50% in the year 1900 to 13% in 2000, reports now show that the rate of using biomass fuels among the poor in the society.
Global Impact of Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air pollution has been regarded and described by numerous health practitioners, scholars, researchers and environmentalists as leading causes of some of the deadly respiratory diseases and infections in the world. Health practitioners have explained that they have evidence linking indoor air pollution to serious diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, heart diseases,...