The Challenge

Every morning in cities and rural areas across the world, a woman starts a fire to cook for her family using solid fuels. This daily ritual is meant to nurture and sustain families, instead it is harming them.

Burning solid fuels releases soot into the air, causing respiratory infections, pulmonary disease, lung cancer, malnutrition, low birth weight and other conditions. Three billion people — largely the world’s most vulnerable and poor — breathe in this deadly air.

Indoor smoke from solid fuels is the tenth leading cause of avoidable deaths worldwide. And this entirely preventable problem disproportionately affects women and children — the ones collecting, cooking with and breathing in solid fuels.

The environmental impacts of cooking with solid fuels are also negative. Solid fuel collection and burning cause deforestation, pollution and soil erosion. The problem is focused in three main regions: East Asia, the Sub-Continent and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Each year, 4.3 million people die from cooking-related indoor air pollution-caused illness — more than deaths from malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined.