From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Following a report that an estimated 95,000 deaths are caused annually by smoke from the traditional use of firewood, Minister of Environment Sharon Ikeazor has said that Nigeria’s residential sector contributes over 50 per cent of the national total emissions of Green House Gases.
Speaking at the 2021 Nigeria Clean Cooking Forum with the theme “Clean Cooking Energy for All in Nigeria – Achieving the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)”, the minister observed that the use of cleaner, more modern cookstoves and fuels can dramatically reduce exposure to harmful smoke.
This, she said, would improve the health of rural women, create wealth, provide myriad economic opportunities for Nigerians.
According to the minister, if nothing is done urgently, by 2030, 60 per cent of the citizens would still be cooking with traditional biomass.
‘Today, we are here to discuss the implementation plans towards achieving the clean cooking targets in the NDC, take stock of the current status of clean cooking activities in the country, review existing policies and practices that relate to clean cooking in Nigeria.
‘If current policies are allowed to continue; by 2030, 60 per cent or more of all households in Nigeria will still be cooking with traditional biomass. Over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population relies solely on fuel wood in meeting their energy needs for cooking and heating.
‘Dependency on biomass for cooking and or heating purposes increases pressure on local natural resources. It poses threat to the health and safety of end-users, mainly women,’ she said.
Recall that a report said that smoke from the traditional use of firewood is estimated to cause 95,000 deaths annually after malaria and HIV/Aids.
According to the report, this method of cooking would be Nigeria’s third highest killer, mostly women and children.
‘Women and the girl child walk long distances and spend hours a week in search of firewood. This also contributes to deforestation and the effects of climate change. Clean cooking will save lives, empower women, improve livelihood and combat climate change. It is a priority area in energy access that is central in achieving the goals of Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative in Nigeria,’ the report said.
The legislative framework for clean cooking solutions must be developed, the report noted, adding that policies and legislations are important enablers for the adoption of clean cooking both at the household and institutions levels.