April 23 - A U.N.-backed scheme to provide safe, energy-saving stoves to the poor of Nigeria aims to help curb the thousands of deaths caused each year by inhalation of toxic fumes or burning from firewood blazes. Jim Drury reports.
Renewable energy campaigners in Nigeria hope to make raging slum fires like these a thing of the past. The blaze gutted a Lagos shanty town, caused by a faulty kerosene stove. It's a common occurrence, with almost 100,000 Nigerians killed every year either by inhaling toxic smoke emitted from rudimentary cookers or burning to death in fast spreading infernos. United Nations-led organisation the Alliance for Clean Cookstoves have decided to act. The public-private partnership aims to provide safe, fuel-efficient stoves at affordable prices to poor Nigerians. Alliance director Yahaya Ahmed. SOUNDBITE (English) YAHAYA AHMED, DIRECTOR DEVELOPMENTAL ASSOCIATION FOR RENEWABLE ENERGIES SAYING: "These stoves have been more affordable through carbon finance, carbon finance meaning that companies and countries who are polluting a lot in the world and causing global warming have provided money that is used to subsidise the costs of these stoves, so these stoves are so low priced that they can compare with kerosene stoves." Here Abuja residents collect kerosene which many Nigerians use as fuel for cooking in cheap stoves But it's extremely dangerous. Eating up oxygen quickly, they can produce deadly carbon monoxide. They're also a fire hazard if knocked over, as Abuja resident Carol Nwosu confirms. SOUNDBITE (English) CAROL NWOSU, ABUJA RESIDENT SAYING: "I have witnessed a family that was burnt by fire because of using kerosene stove. Using kerosene stove, sometimes by the time, maybe you finished cooking and you want to put out the stove, the whole atmosphere, most especially when you are cooking inside the house, you discover that when you put off the stove, the house will be smelling one kind offensive odour like that." Nigeria holds the world's seventh largest gas reserves and is among the world's top oil producing countries. Despite this, more than 100 million Nigerians are unable to afford electricity or gas. The Alliance aims to equip 10 million households with the new stoves by 2020. Jim Drury, Reuters