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Cooking with ‘dirty’ fuels affects women’s mental health

Gs Paper-2

Syllabus: Social Justice



The study revealed that women cooking primarily with charcoal and wood had approximately 50% higher odds of likely depression than those cooking with gas.

About 2.6 billion people — nearly half of the global population, most of them in Africa, Asia, and central and south America — rely on biomass fuels, like wood and charcoal, or kerosene to cook meals, heat, and light their homes.


In high-income countries, the inability to afford clean household energy has worsened people’s mental health. A recent study in the United Kingdom found that individuals who couldn’t afford to heat their homes had poorer mental health than those who could. This manifested in lower levels of life satisfaction.

Women whose homes did not have electricity for lighting also had 40% higher odds of being depressed than those with electric lighting.


  • These include a loss of productivity, fewer job opportunities, and less food security than those with access to clean energy.
  • Time is also lost because women often have to travel long distances to gather firewood.
  • Cooking with biomass fuels takes much longer than it would with clean energy sources.


  • Providing clean and affordable cooking fuels.
  • Create awareness regarding the harmful effects of biomass burning, so that people will move on to alternate clean fuels.

This has led to reduced their stress levels, improved their diets, and provided them with more time to take on new employment.


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Source: DownToEarth