The Inevitable Invisible: Poison Air
The sinister cloud of smoke fills the area of the kitchen. Shilpa is crouching down on the muddy kitchen floor, coughing sorrowfully. Lungs weeping. The acidic scent of the combusting fuels sears her nostrils. Enduring the pain, she rubs her dusty eyes and pulls up her sari, covering her mouth. The smell of the smoke penetrates Shilpa’s sari. Her eyebrows squint involuntarily. In moments, the gray untouchable smoke will secretly accumulate, quietly blending with the atmosphere into an invisible poison. In India, 75 per cent of rural and 22 per cent of urban households continue to use biomass for daily cooking. The majority of the food is cooked in traditional cookstoves or chulhas. The lethal gas and particulates that are emitted from biomass burning have significant and detrimental health and socio-economic consequences. The most affected are the already most exposed parts of our population, especially women (R.K,Srinath,Shyam). Many women are affected by the poisonous smoke which the indoor air pollution produces in the kitchen that leads to struggles from health issues. However, replacing household fuels with biomass gasifier stoves is one way to reduce the health risks women face.