The need for clean cookstoves in Dhaka

Samiha Ali, Dhaka Community Manager
Dhaka, 15 December 2015

Bangladesh, one of the largest deltas in the world, is extremely vulnerable to any changes caused by global warming for a number of reasons. The country’s geographic location, population density, low-lying flat land, extreme poverty, and lack of institutional setup are some of the main causes of Bangladesh’s vulnerability. The effects of climate change, such as an increase in temperature and rise in sea levels, has already started to have a negative impact on the economic and developmental sector of the country. Every year, the country has to face natural disasters of severe magnitudes which directly affect the lifestyle and livelihood of the people of this low-lying delta, with the marginalized poor community facing the worst consequences.

The new Climate Deal of 2015 aims to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases which is the main cause of global warming. Despite being one of the smallest emitters, Bangladesh faces some of the major consequences of rising global temperature. Although Bangladesh is labeled as a Least Developed Country, the prime minister agreed to the development of sustainable Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) at the UN Climate Summit held in New York City in 2014 as a show of commitment to the new Climate Deal. The deal, which is to be signed by 196 countries at the Paris summit in December 2015, aims to keep the rise of world temperature to the threshold level of two-degree celsius by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenhouse gases, which are primarily released from the burning of fossil fuels, build up in the atmosphere and result in an increase in temperature, ultimately resulting in global warming. In a bid to reduce the burning of fossil fuels, the Department of Environment (DoE), in collaboration with German International Cooperation (GIZ), has set a target to replace around 30 million traditional clay stove with an energy-efficient and eco-friendly stove.

The project, known as "Bondhu Chula," is currently being implemented in the slum areas of Dhaka District. In a study conducted by the DoE and GIZ, it was found that Bangladeshi households, especially those belonging to urban poor of Dhaka, burn an average of 80 million tons of biomass like wood, leaves, and agricultural waste for cooking alone. The reason why such a large quantity of fuel is required is mainly due to the inefficiency of the traditional clay stoves. On the other hand, the new low cost “Bondhu Chula” is pollution-free, hygienic and produces no smoke in the kitchen.

But perhaps its greatest feature is its fuel efficiency. The “Bondhu Chula” is anticipated to increase energy efficiency by 30 percent, and save fuel by 50 percent compared to traditional stoves. This will ultimately result in a reduction of fuel consumption, air pollution, and most importantly, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the GIZ project manager, almost seven-hundred thousand “Bondhu Chula” have already been installed starting from 2006. With financial aid from India, GIZ hopes to install more 70,000 stoves in eight upazilas of Bangladesh by November 2016. The successful implementation of this project promises to have a positive outcome by reducing levels of carbon dioxide emission and fuel consumption, both drastically reducing the adverse effects of climate change.

Photo: Samiha Ali

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