Today, more than 3 billion people around the world depend upon polluting energy sources like coal, wood, charcoal for cooking. And over 1 billion people rely on kerosene oil to light their homes.
This has serious implications on the health of people especially women, children and elders because they spend more time in their homes.
In fact today every 1 in 10 people in northern India die prematurely because of air pollution.
So what can we do about this? Is there any solution?
The answer is yes. The solution is LPG recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Let us see …
What is LPG?
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a fuel which provides energy that can be used in various household appliances like cooking and heating. LPG is also used as an energy source to fuel our cars, buses and other automobiles.
LPG is called liquefied gas because it can easily be transformed from gaseous state to liquid form by applying low pressure.
Usually LPG is stored and transferred as a liquid under pressure in a gas bottle or propane tanks.
But it turns back into gas vapor when some of the pressure in the gas cylinder or bottle is released. Then it is ignited to provide heat energy for various applications.
What is LPG used for?
Before you learn about LPG’s benefit and why it is recommended by WHO, you need to know what it is used for.
LPG is primarily used for cooking purposes. All household appliances like gas stoves, cooktops, oven, heaters, fireplaces etc run on LPG fuel.
But apart from cooking, LPG is also used in fire pits, dryers, patio heaters etc. These were some of the household applications of LPG.
But there are also commercial and industrial applications of LPG. For example, LPG cylinders are used in automobiles like Auto rickshaw and cabs, LPG fuelled hot air balloons, propellant gas etc.
Why LPG is Recommended by WHO
Now you have a fair idea what LPG is and why it is used. It won’t be surprising to learn why WHO or world health organization recommends LPG to be used by households worldwide. Although there could be many reasons but one obvious reason is health benefits.
LPG usage reduces the household air pollution and other problems associated with the solid fuel usage significantly.
WHO Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for Household Fuel Combustion recommends that community wide transition to clean fuels like LPG, biogas, electricity is required if air quality level mandated by WHO has to be achieved.
LPG provides direct health benefits like improving quality of life and associated other environmental co-benefits. This is the prime reason why WHO recommends LPG for household cooking.
Benefits of LPG Household Cooking
There are other benefits of LPG that we need to talk about in great details.
Avoiding Health Crises
As you already know HAP or Household Air Pollution is the main concern for the global health emergency.
Use of solid fuels such as coal, wood, dung and charcoal causes over 4.5 million premature deaths each year. In which 60% are women and children.
The cause of death could be lung cancer, pneumonia, strokes, heart diseases and other pulmonary diseases. Women and children are particularly at a high risk.
LPG as a major clean source of household energy addresses the issue of HAP and reduces the outdoor air pollutions significantly. Use of LPG can avert a health crisis in developing countries.
One of the major contributors to green house gas is household air pollution.
It is estimated that in India, 30% of its outdoor pollution is from the household sources and around 30% is from industries and automobiles each.
So if we can use LPG as fuel for meeting our household, commercial and automobile energy needs then we can significantly reduce the emission and reduce global warming.
LPG is really good particularly for developing countries where 84% of all black carbon emissions come from household combustion.
LPG has great environment benefits.
LPG usage is very important for achieving sustainable development goals set by WHO. LPG as a clean energy source presents a great opportunity to make progress towards several Sustainable developmental goals.
SDG has set target for ensuring universal access to clean household energy by 2030. LPG could play an important role in providing clean household energy.
Other than household energy, LPG can also be used in automobile sector by replacing the use of fossil fuel such petrol and diesel.
Many developing countries are shifting to CNG (Compressed natural gas) powered engines to reduce emissions.
Ending Gender Inequities
You will be surprised to know that the clean fuel source such as LPG can help in reducing gender gap.
As you know most of the household chores like cooking and cleaning is done by women. With access to LPG women can now spend more time doing other activities like studying, playing or travelling.
Women especially in the developing world have to go out and spend time collecting wood or kerosene oil for hours. A LPG connection can save their time from physical hardships.
They can be equally productive as their male counterparts. So apart from obvious health benefits LPG also reduces gender inequities.
Renewable Energy Source
Bio LPG is fully renewable fuel source made from a mix of wastes and residues. Bio LPG is different from fossil fuel LPG. But in many ways they are quite similar.
Bio LPG can be stored, distributed and used just like fossil fuel LPG. They can use the existing LPG infrastructure such as cylinders, gas pipelines, regulators, stoves for burning purposes.
If Bio LPG production is increased and made available for household use in developing countries then it can significantly reduce the dependence upon fossil fuel energy sources.
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They are clean and fully renewable energy. These were few good reasons why every family in developing countries should get a LPG connection. People who will benefit the most are women and children.