1.5 billion people do not have access to electricity of which 585 million of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa and 404 million in India. 3 billion people, almost half of the world’s population, rely on biomass, such as, wood, charcoal and dung for cooking and heating purposes.
These people are living in energy poverty, the ramifications of which extend far beyond heating and cooking. Instead of children – usually young girls – going to school, they have to spend hours daily collecting firewood to heat their homes and cook.
The use of wood, charcoal and dung cook stoves presents serious health risks in the developing world today. Primitive cook stoves create indoor air pollution because homes are poorly ventilated and the dirty air sits in the home and breathed.
The number of deaths from this kind of indoor air pollution currently kills more people each year than malaria and tuberculosis. By 2030, the number of premature deaths from household air pollution will be more than the combined total of deaths from HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis.
The World Health Organisation found that 1.6 million energy poor people die each year from the adverse effects of indoor air pollution, or one person every 20 seconds.