Exposure to household air pollution from open combustion of solid fuels continues to be a major cause of avoidable illness and death throughout the Global South. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in activities attempting to induce a shift toward cleaner cooking options, but for many in poor, rural and marginalized communities – namely in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – clean-cooking stoves and fuels simply aren’t accessible.
Furthermore, those who do employ clean-cooking techniques might also still use open wood-burning fires as a supplement, limiting the benefits of transitioning to gas or electricity.
Researchers tested the efficacy of various low-cost supplements to open fires, including rock beds, ceramic grates and metal grates, to help mitigate wood consumption and harmful emissions.
The modifications result in lower fuelwood consumption and emissions, resulting in social and environmental benefits, but they are unlikely reduce health impacts, which many policies and programs now prioritize.