Globally, nearly three billion people use polluting, inefficient stoves or open fires to cook their food. In Guatemala, more than half of families rely on open fires to cook. This causes the smoke to fill their homes and results in severe health problems. Approximately, 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.
The need for firewood as fuel contributes to deforestation. Guatemala loses up to 2,460 hectares of tree cover annually. As a result, deforestation brings soil erosion, loss of animal habitat, and fewer oxygen-producing trees. Due to the high rate of consumption, forests and trees become increasingly scarce, and villagers must travel even further to find wood. DWC’s LIGHT UP GUATEMALA program installs eco-stoves in homes to help stop all the harmful impacts of cooking fires. A vented stove is more environmentally friendly and can prevent a lifetime of health problems, but not everyone can afford one.
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.
In Guatemala, the average home is shared by 6-8 people. An eco stove instantly improve their lives. Smoke vents outside and firewood burns much more efficiently, so less wood is needed. That means less time collecting wood or less money to buy it, and fewer trees cut down.
Angélica is a young lady with a 3-year-old daughter. Her husband works in the fields and she takes care of her daughter and does the household duties. They live with her mother in-law in “El Paraíso”, a beautiful area in the skirts of the volcano.
Getting firewood is a very difficult task because they have to hike long distances to find it. This is one of the reasons many people in this community buy firewood.Read Her Full Story in the PDF