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‘Smoke leads to 78,000 untimely deaths yearly’

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FG To Develop Clean Cooking Policy Soon

Experts have asserted that smoke from firewood or charcoal has led to serious health problems, causing 78,000 premature deaths yearly. They also say 55 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents are emitted from the same source.

While speaking at a workshop funded by Heinrich Boll Stiftung, they explained that the resultant effect of pollution causes acute lower respiratory infection in children, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart diseases and lung cancer.

Acting Director, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Halima Bawa-Buhari said: “Advancement of clean cooking would be best achieved, if stakeholders shared a common understanding of its benefits.”

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She also cited policy inconsistencies and a lack of institutional leadership as major impediments to clean cooking progress, saying: “The calls for less reliance on biomass cooking, which depletes forest resources, causes environmental degradation, and contributes to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions.

“To this end, the Federal Government will soon develop a clean cooking policy and to have an energy sector that will promote clean cooking in Nigeria. For this reason, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) agreed to develop a standalone clean cooking policy document to provide a clear road map for the sector.”

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The Executive Director of International Centre for Energy, Environment & Development, Ewah O. Eleri, said: “Today, existing laws and regulations that relate to clean cooking are fragmented in policies of relevant MDAs and lack consistency and coherence.”

Secretary, Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Precious Onuvae, said: “Several current policies have conflicting national targets and many have no diligent implementation frameworks,” adding that developing a single policy document on clean cooking should be built on existing policies.

She urged Federal Government agencies to resolve to establish clean cooking units in all relevant MDAs to ensure adequate coordination of the representatives, as well as set up a sub-committee on clean cooking under the existing inter-ministerial committee on climate change.

Michael Umonoko, Chairman, National Assembly Committee on Climate Change, believes that since there is already an existing inter-ministerial commitment on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), participants should work on a bill to promote clean cooking and present it to the parliament.

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