A new clean cooking program is working to improve public health in Nepal, where household air pollution (HAP) accounts for over 18,000 deaths each year. The program aims to combat this through a series of measures to promote smoke-free kitchen communities.
The project, supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a joint effort between the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, the World Health Organization, and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. The project will include a focus on 1) estimating health benefits of reducing HAP for household members and the broader community and 2) informing and motivating future efforts to promote smoke-free household communities in urban Nepal for improving public health. Complementary market research and strengthening activities will also be undertaken to inform future behavior change, market development, and policy efforts that will support the sustained and widespread access to and adoption of clean household energy for maximum impact.
HAP accounts for around 1/3 of ambient air pollution (AAP) in Nepal. In order to achieve maximum health benefits, HAP should be reduced through demonstrably clean cooking solutions, as defined by the WHO Indoor Air Quality Guidelines (IAQG), consistent with International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) International Workshop Agreement (IWA) as Tier 4 and above for indoor emissions. Nepalese communities may not achieve the maximum benefits of clean cooking if there are major barriers to sustained and widespread access and affordability of clean cooking, households continue to cook and/or heat with more polluting stoves and fuels, and/or competing sources of pollution (e.g. brick kilns, traffic, neighbors who continue to cook with traditional stoves and fuels, preparation of animal fodder, etc) are not addressed.