Third-world stoves that save trees and lungs!

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

old stove
Traditional mud stoves produce thick black smoke that’s harmful to both people and the environment.

If you live in a place with internet access, chances are you own a typical gas-burning stove, which uses gas to fuel fire and heat up food. Not all areas of the world have these appliances, though, and they often must rely on basic mud cookers for a hot meal! Unfortunately, the smoke pollutes the air and creates health problems for people in developing nations. In order to solve this widespread issue, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is raising money for a new-style cooker that’s affordable and clean.

Why do the mud cookers, which sound so natural, create such damaging conditions? Well, they use wood as a fuel source, so locals have to chop forest trees to keep up with the heat.

Once the fire gets going, billowing black smoke spreads everywhere, which can linger inside homes and make it difficult for people to breathe. In fact, millions of individuals die every year because of the black smoke. However, homes are not the only environments affected; glaciers are threatened, too.

Oh come on, glaciers are insanely massive chunks of ice that cover huge areas of land, I doubt a tiny little stove can melt it all. Well, one stove probably can’t, but the smoke rising from several stoves definitely can. They produce soot that sticks to the surface of glaciers, and the black material attracts more heat from the Sun. This, of course, causes the glaciers to melt faster. It’s almost like wearing a thick black sweater on a warm day. You’d start melting, too!

Wow, those are a lot of problems. So, how is the new-style cooker going to tackle them? Well, they produce about 80% less smoke than the older ones, so they’re definitely much nicer for people’s eyes and lungs (not to mention the glaciers). Plus, they’ll only need about half the wood, so there’s no reason to cut down as many trees in the forest! About 2.5 billion people in the world still use mud cookers, and I’m sure they’ll breathe easy knowing improved ones are on the way.

Images and video courtesy of Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.