The United Nations (UN) says at least 1.6 million people around the world die yearly of smoke related illnesses due to inefficient cooking stoves.
The UN Development Programme, Global Environment Facility Integrated Approach Programme on Food Security (UNDP-GEF-IAP-FS), made the disclosure on in Abuja.
Ms Rhoda Dia, Project Manager, Resilient Food Security Project, under the UNDP-GEF-IAP-FS Project, said the UN had therefore, come up with an alternative to curb the ugly trend.
Dia said 70 communities across seven states of the federation had been selected to benefit from a training on the use of energy efficient cooking stove.
She listed the benefitting states to include, Adamawa, Benue, Nasarawa, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina and Gombe.
According to her, part of the project is to also teach beneficiaries alternative livelihood and additional job creation methods for the communities to compliment the project’ s efforts on agro forestry intervention.
Dia said the project, aimed at reducing deforestation, was in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), to help beneficiaries address health, social and environmental problems arising from smokes.
She said the aim of the training was also to select five beneficiaries each from the seven states to learn how to produce and market energy efficient cooking stoves at commercial quantity, to help protect health and create wealth.
Dia said more than 70 per cent of the Nigerian population cook with dirty fuels, leading to around 95,000 deaths annually.
According to her, the use of fuel wood costs more, and also ravages the forest, adding that it also contributes to climate change.
“We are excited about the training, as it would contribute to reducing deforestation, erosion of watersheds, flooding, destruction of farmlands and desertification,” she said.
She said the energy efficient cooking stoves were produced to address negative environmental, health and social problems of cooking with traditional open fires and other inefficient cook stoves.
Dia said the participants would enjoy immense benefits such as the reduction of indoor smoke levels by 90 per cent and prevention of build up of soot in the home and in the lungs.
She therefore, said that efficient cooking practices would help reduce pressure on forests as less fuel wood would be used.
Mr Israel Ozovehe, Managing Director, ISOPAC Global Resources Ltd, said about 67 per cent of the Nigerian population was using the traditional cooking method of open fires (firewood), for cooking.
Ozovehe, who also listed the disadvantages of traditional methods of cooking, called for concerted efforts at tackling such to curb the many health and environmental challenges they posed to humans.
About 50 beneficiaries from the seven states selected for the project would take part in the four-day training in Abuja, on production and marketing of energy efficient cooking stoves.