Globally, nearly three billion people use polluting, inefficient stoves or open flame to cook their food. The smoke kills approximately 4.3 million people every year and the need for firewood contributes to deforestation.
See the difference Light Up Guatemala is making
In Guatemala, more than half of families rely on open fires to cook. The smoke fills their homes, resulting in severe health problems. Years of smoke exposure can cause pneumonia, cancer, stroke, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Respiratory infections are among the leading causes of death in Guatemala, particularly for women and children who spend a lot of time around the fires.
Guatemala loses up to 2,460 hectares of tree cover annually. That deforestation results in soil erosion, loss of animal habitat and fewer oxygen-producing trees. About one ton of firewood per person per year is used for cooking and heat. Collecting that much firewood takes time and energy or costs money. As forests and trees become increasingly scarce, villagers must travel further to find wood.
Eco-stoves stop the harmful impact of cooking fires
They are better for:
- Family health – the stove filters and channels smoke outside the home. Women and children are no longer exposed to polluted air for long periods of time.
- The environment – the stove uses 70% less firewood than open fires. That’s a drastic drop in the number of trees cut down and reduces other harmful effects of deforestation. As well, the stove uses local porous stone to filter out the toxic chemicals typically are released into the air during burning.
- Family resources – the stove uses far less wood, so it also uses far less of a family’s income, time and energy.
Light Up Guatemala will put 5,000 eco-stoves in the homes of families living in poverty throughout Guatemala.