The challenge of delivering clean energy for the kitchen

A hut filled with acrid smoke from burning firewood or perhaps cow-dung cakes. It is all too common across the length and breadth of India where nine out of ten rural households and more than a quarter of all urban ones use biomass in one form or another as fuel.

“The inefficient burning of solid fuels on an open fire or traditional stove indoors creates a dangerous cocktail of hundreds of pollutants,” observed the World Health Organisation in a 2006 publication, Fuel for Life: Household Energy and Health. Women and their small children breathe in smoke that is equivalent to consuming two packets of cigarettes every day.

Full article can be read in The Hindu's Survey of the Environment 2010. The publication is now on stands. Copies can be obtained by Registered Post (not V.P.P.) for Rs.80 (Rupees Eighty) by drawing a cheque in favour of "Kasturi and Sons Ltd." (Add Rs.10 for non-Chennai cheques) and sending it to the Circulation Department, The Hindu, 859-860, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002 Email:

N. Gopal Raj is Senior Assistant Editor, The Hindu.