An environmental problem in India: straw and manure furnaces

Before the advent of electricity, in the 19th century, an ordinary family used to live at night with a single candle. That happened, for example, in London.

The wealthiest classes had other alternatives, such as gas lamps, but these were very expensive, needed continuous maintenance and were particularly filthy, caused health problems and, in addition, continuous fires. In India, they still have these problems and are more serious than previously assumed..

To prepare food

Pollution from straw-fed or manure-fed stoves, used in millions of poor households in Asia to prepare food, is much more serious than had been estimated.

The smoke emitted by the stoves used both for cooking and for heating It has a definitive and damaging environmental impact, according to an analysis by a collaborative team at the University of Washington in St. Louis.

The research, recently published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, took place in 2015, when they spent 20 days conducting a series of tests in Raipur, a city in central India where more than three quarters of families use these stoves to prepare their meals.

The measurements yielded data far superior to those commonly held. Rajan Chakrabarty, assistant professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Traditional burning in stoves is one of the largest sources of pollutants in India.

However, more research is needed to assess the exact effect of stove emissions on climate and health.