CHANDIGARH: Despite various schemes, including the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY), solid biomass fuel (SBF) like cow dung continues to be used heavily in Punjab.
A study conducted by the PGIMER, Chandigarh, and the Panjab University has found 67% household use SBF as the primary fuel, whereas only 21% use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
The study has also found that LPG as a clean fuel alternative is significantly cheaper as compared to SBF. The weekly cooking fuel cost was highest at $3.1 for SBF users, followed by mixed fuel users at $2.6 a week, the study found. LPG fuel users have to spend $1.3 a week.
As cooking through LPG costs around three times less than the cow dung cakes, there is a need to circulate this message to all sections of the society and especially in the rural areas of the country, the study has recommended. It says that people in Punjab who were interviewed for the study lacked knowledge about health effects of household air pollution. Around one-third of the global population uses solid biomass fuels for cooking, lighting and heating.
The study was conducted by a team of PGI Community Medicine & School of Public Health and the Panjab University’s department of environment studies, in 20 villages of Fatehgarh Sahib district. The study has recommended that when the household air pollution is becoming a major public health concern, awareness and regular check-ups of the main cooks (women) should be conducted.
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