The Silent Energy Crisis: Nigeria – going up in smoke
Traditional cooking methods are a health risk, they cause deforestation and climate change, and they are unnecessarily expensive to some of the world’s poorest people.
90 million Nigerians, and almost all public institutions, cook with wood on the traditional “three-stone fire”.
Deadly smoke – Cooking smoke causes 95,300 deaths in Nigeria annually. For those who survive the smoke there are serious health problems. For children born to women who are exposed during pregnancy the risks are low birth weight, impaired mental abilities and birth defects. Nigeria experiences the highest number of smoke-related deaths in Africa; after Malaria and HIV/AIDS it is the biggest killer.
Poverty – 102 million Nigerians live in poverty, a ¼ of Africa’s extreme poor. The traditional cooking method is expensive, burning up to 90% more wood than is necessary and costing poor families money that could be put to better use on education, health and nutrition.
Climate Crisis – In Nigeria deforestation is happening at an alarming rate; the use of wood as fuel is a major cause. Carbon Dioxide emissions from millions of cooking fires are contributing to greenhouse gases. Desertification, caused in part by deforestation, is contributing to poverty by forcing groups from ancestral lands in search of fertile pastures. This movement of people has resulted in violent ethnic disputes.