Countries with basic infrastructure can create a network of distribution, making LPG accessible in both urban and rural areas. In countries with established natural gas and oil production, LPG supplies are readily available. For those who do not have their own reserves, transporting LPG is safe and affordable.
Indoor air pollution is the tenth leading cause of avoidable deaths worldwide. In environmental causes of death, it is second only to contaminated water borne illnesses. Of the two million deaths that occur annually from indoor pollution, almost all take place in low-income countries.
Financing the switch from traditional or already established fuels to LPG requires government backing and funds. Countries without stable governments will have difficulties establishing and launching solid conversion programs. Infrastructure is also key for LPG distribution; this is a challenge for many developing countries. Additionally, social norms and tradition play roles in transitioning to LPG; people need to adopt new cooking habits. Fortunately, because LPG is an accessible and easy to use fuel, the transition tends to be simple.
Two million people die each year because of pollution from traditional cooking methods involving solid fuels such as wood and charcoal. That is more than combined deaths from malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Burning these fuels releases pollutants into the air, which can cause respiratory infections, pulmonary disease, and even lung cancer. Other risks associated with traditional fuels include deforestation, soil erosion, and risky fuel wood collection.
There are several countries that have created subsidies for LPG as ways to encourage adopting the alternative fuel over traditional fuels. Indonesia is an excellent example of how switching from an established fuel subsidy program to subsidizing LPG has actually saved the government billions of dollars. Initial costs for a new conversion program include improving infrastructure, marketing the initiative, educating consumers, and supplying them with tools like LPG cylinders and stoves.
The health, environmental, and timesaving benefits of switching to LPG could raise productivity gains in developing countries. Women would have time to focus on developing new activities that contribute to the local economy. Additionally, reducing exposure to indoor air pollution would in turn lower the number of resulting diseases and cut health costs.
LPG burns clean and has lower greenhouse emissions than any other fossil fuel. It is a portable, clean energy source with 50% fewer carbon emissions than coal and 20% fewer than heating oil. Additionally, it can improve air quality by removing pollutants such as sulfer and nitrogen oxides.
Using LPG for indoor cooking ensures healthy air with no pollutants because it is a clean, non-toxic fuel. If a leak were to occur, LPG would not contaminate the soil or aquifers in the affected area.
COOKING FOR LIFE is a global campaign of the World LPG Association (WLPGA) to introduce LPG as a clean and safe alternative to traditional, yet harmful, fuels used for cooking in developing countries. The initiative aims to involve governments, public health officials, global NGOs, and the energy industry to provide expanded access and support for use of this more advanced cooking fuel.
LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas. It comprises butane and/or propane and is generated as a co-product of natural gas and crude oil production, which means it exists whether or not we use it and requires no additional effort to produce. It is unique in its versatility and can be used in over a thousand different applications.