It is that time of year again. The forest in Sumatra are burning and entire cities are covered in a haze of smog. Schools are closed and Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are again complaining about the smoke they receive from their big neighbor. The forest fires are of course very worrisome because they deplete carbon stocks, threat biodiversity and air pollution are a great health risk. However, there is a lot more haze than meets the eye.
Indoor smoke: the silent killer
Indoor smoke from wood fires for cooking for instance may cause more health problems then the forest fires. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) household air pollution causes over 4.3 million premature deaths annually worldwide. Most of these deaths are because of smoke related diseases like stroke, coronary heart disease, chronic respiratory disease and childhood pneumonia. In Indonesia, the WHO estimates 160 thousand people die prematurely because of household air pollution. Sadly, 45% percent of an estimated 25,300 child deaths due to acute lower respiratory infections is caused by indoor air pollution. Indoor smoke is also linked to still birth
In Indonesia, air pollution in and around the house mostly caused by burning wood for cooking. Women and children are at a greater risk for disease from household air pollution. Consequently, more women and children suffer from and die of household air pollution than men.
What to do against indoor smoke
The good news is that indoor smoke is easier to solve than the forest fires, this is what can be done.
- Use cleaner fuels like LPG instead of wood. Many Indonesians now have access to LPG thanks to government programs (see ) but many people still use wood and LPG.
- If you use wood, use improved cookstoves such as Prime cookstoves
- With a Nazava water filter you do not need to boil water anymore. Saves a lot of wood. So less smoke in your house.
- Watch e.g. this testimony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T7tnAvYwhw of a mother that needs 50% less wood after she purchased a filter.
- Surveyors asked 204 Nazava water filter users whether there was less indoor smoke now, 84% said after buying a Nazava there is less smoke in their house. data here: