This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
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than three billion people are at risk from indoor air pollution because of the
heating or cooking fuels they use. Most live in Africa, India and China. They
use biomass fuels like wood, crop waste, animal waste or coal. These solid
fuels may be the least costly fuels available. But they are also a major cause
of health problems and death.
For more than thirty years, the Aprovecho
Research Center has been designing cleaner, low-cost cooking stoves for the developing
world. Dean Still is the director of the group which is based in the United
States. He notes a World Health Organization estimate that more than one and a
half million people a year die from breathing smoke from solid fuels.
DEAN STILL: "And half of the people on planet Earth
every day use wood or biomass for cooking. These are the people on Earth who
have less money, and the richer people use oil and gas. It's been estimated
that wood is running out more quickly than oil and gas. And so it is very
important for the poorer people to have very efficient stoves that protect
their forests and that protect their health."
year Aprovecho holds a "stove camp" at its testing station in Cottage
Grove, Oregon. Engineers, inventors, students and others come together to design
and test different methods and materials for improving stoves.
the years, the group has made stoves using mud, bricks, sheet metal, clay, ceramics
and old oil drums. Most of the stoves look like large, deep cooking pots. They
have an opening at the bottom for the fire and a place on top to put a pot.
In the late nineteen seventies,
Aprovecho produced a popular stove called the Lorena. The Lorena was very good
at reducing smoke and warming homes. But new tests years later found that it
was not very efficient. The Lorena used twice as much wood as an open fire, and
took much longer to heat food.
Since then, Dean Still says they have experimented with
countless other designs.
DEAN STILL: "Our goal is to make a very
inexpensive stove -- let's say five dollars -- that makes very, very little
smoke, so it's safe for health, diminishes global warming and diminishes
deforestation. And so it's an ongoing problem to work on."
Aprovecho has now partnered with a stove
manufacturer in China. The company is making Aprovecho's first mass produced
stoves. They are said to use forty to fifty percent less wood than an open fire,
and produce fifty to seventy-five percent less smoke. A company called StoveTec
is selling them through its Web site for less than ten dollars. Dean Still says
that more than one hundred thousand have been sold so far.
that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by June Simms. I'm Howard