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27 out of 1000 kids die from dirty cooking fuels in India

The report states that in India, 27 out of every 1,000 infants and children die as a result of being exposed to unclean cooking fuels.

News Arena Network - New Delhi - UPDATED: July 8, 2024, 09:04 PM - 3 mins read

27 out of 1000 kids die from dirty cooking fuels in India

27 out of 1000 kids die from dirty cooking fuels in India

Infants have underdeveloped lungs and are in close proximity to their mothers, who are frequently the primary cooks in the home. - Representational Image


A report from a top American university reveals that as many as 27 out of every 1,000 infants and children perish as a result of being exposed to unclean cooking fuels in India.

 

The study, titled 'Cooking Fuel Choice and Child Mortality in India', used extensive household survey data from 1992 to 2016 to establish the human toll of relying on unclean cooking fuels. 

 

The research was conducted by the authors, including Arnab Basu, a professor at the Charles H Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. It highlights that the most significant impact was observed among newborns less than a month old.

 

Basu stated that infants in this age group have underdeveloped lungs and are in close proximity to their mothers, who are frequently the primary cooks in the home.

 

The report states that in India, 27 out of every 1,000 infants and children die as a result of being exposed to unclean cooking fuels.

 

Basu mentioned that the impact on mortality is significantly greater for young girls than boys in Indian households. “This is not because girls are more delicate or vulnerable to respiratory illnesses related to pollution, but rather due to the strong preference for sons in India, which may lead families to be less inclined to seek treatment when a young daughter becomes sick or starts coughing.

 

“A switch to cleaner fuels would not only have a positive impact on overall childhood health but would also address this neglect of daughters,” Basu said in a university press release.

 

According to the WHO, about a third of the world’s population cooks food over an open fire or in stoves fuelled by biomass (wood, animal dung, and crop waste), contributing to an estimated 3.2 million deaths annually.

 

But mandating change is difficult. “A lot of focus is on outdoor air pollution and how crop waste is burned,” Basu said. 

 

“Governments can make laws against crop burning and can give farmers payments in advance to incentivise them not to burn.” 

 

The paper suggests that looking at indoor pollution is equally important, with an understanding that regional agricultural land ownership and forest cover, household characteristics, and family structure, among other factors, play a role. 




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