Improved Cookstove Program in Bangladesh supported by the Republic of Korea
“On our earth, the Second Great Flood and Massive Destruction are quite imminent. Even if the whole earth is not destroyed, there is no doubt that at least some parts of it will be destroyed. The way the weather of the South Pole is gradually becoming intolerably warm – what will be the consequence? Everyone knows that ice melts when it gets heated. The first areas to be affected by this Great Flood will be the lower-lying parts of the earth, i.e. the southern regions.”
– Kazi Nazrul Islam, Poet, and Pioneer of Climate Change Debate (1921)
The warning was made by Kazi Nazrul Islam about one hundred years ago. But it remained unnoticed and unheard, even by the scientists and environmentalists of Bangladesh. Today, in 2019 we observe that climate change is at the doorstep and Bangladesh is going to be one of the worst victims of it.
Bangladesh is a developing country with a weak industrial base and as such has little share of the global GHG emission and warming. Yet, Bangladesh has voluntarily committed itself to mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The cooking energy has a share of around 50% of total energy consumption and also a significant share in the total GHG emission of Bangladesh. Wood, jute sticks, agricultural waste, cow dung – 75% of all Bangladeshis still employ these traditional fuels for cooking, and most use inefficient and poorly ventilated clay stoves that create smoke and toxins with indoor air pollution level rising 20 times higher than the accepted guidelines. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that over 100,000 women and children die each year in Bangladesh as a direct result of exposure to indoor air pollution, while millions more suffer from respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, eye problems, lung cancer, etc. The use of inefficient traditional stoves is the reason for high biomass consumption (40-50 million tons per year) resulting in biomass scarcity forest is on the decline.
To deal with the fuel problems and indoor air pollution, Bondhu Chula has been introduced. Bondhu Chula is an improved cookstove: it saves up to 60% fuel and has a chimney to take the smoke out of the kitchen. It is made of concrete and designed to increase heat transfer, while also matching the traditional utensils and cooking habits of the people in Bangladesh. The use of a Bondhu Chula saves over 1 ton of woody biomass per year and thus reduces over 1.7 tons of GHG carbon dioxide emission per year. Thus, the use of Bondhu Chula mitigates climate change.
For the rapid and wide-spread introduction of Bondhu Chula, Bangladesh Bondhu Foundation (BBF) has been established. BBF is closely cooperating with the Bangladesh Government, especially the Department of Environment and SREDA as well as German Development Organization GIZ.
The vision of BBF is to replace all traditional stoves of Bangladesh by clean and efficient cookstoves like Bondhu Chula as soon as possible and thus contribute to the mitigation of climate change.
The Korean company ECOEYE has extended its support to materialize the vision of BBF and thereby mitigate climate changes. ECOEYE and BBF have jointly started a carbon-offset project “Improved Cookstove Program in Bangladesh supported by the Republic of Korea”. It is registered with UNFCCC. Two other Korean companies SKS and KOMIPO have joined ECOEYE. It is a win-win project both for Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea.
The overall objective of the project is to install and ensure the usage of Bondhu Chula, which significantly reduces GHG emission and thus mitigates climate change.
The specific objectives of the project are to:
(1) Save biomass fuel,
(2) Reduce indoor air pollution,
(3) Contribute to forest regeneration,
(4) Contribute to mitigate climate change.
In addition, the project will help Bangladesh to attain SDGs. It provides significant co-benefits, e.g.:
– Improved public health through a reduction of indoor as well as overall air pollution,
– Reduced burden of biomass collection, especially of women and children,
– Enabling children
to go to school regularly (they spend significant time to collect biomass),
– Enhanced knowledge base and capacity on mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
Under the project, 6 million Bondhu Chula will be installed within 5 years, which will reduce at least 22 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 10 years.