Every year, over four million people around the world die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels. Most of them are poor, and cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal. In Myanmar, firewood and charcoal represent more than 80% of the energy used for cooking. The quality of cook stoves used in Myanmar's households therefore has a significant impact on health and safety of families across the country. At the same time, the use of wood fuels also significantly contributes to deforestation. Myanmar has the third highest deforestation rate in the world, losing about 2% of its forests every year.
The European Union therefore funded a project to develop, locally produce and disseminate improved cook stoves. The SCALE project aims to improve the health and livelihoods of vulnerable populations, while preserving natural resources. Since 2014, SCALE has trained around 50 local manufacturers to produce the improved cook stove model and ensure effective quality control. The improved cook stoves are marked with the "San Pya" label – a new quality label to allow end-users to easily identify San Pya cook stoves in the local markets.
The new cook stove models save 40% of firewood and 35% of charcoal compared to traditional open fires or stoves. Such improvements generate important economic savings on fuel expenses for the families and reduce the pressure on forest resources. Users are less exposed to smoke and hazardous hazardous emissions, with a positive effect on communities' health. As the new cook stoves cook faster and safer than traditional models, they have improve the daily life of women who are usually in charge of cooking for the family.
About the SCALE project:
The SCALE project (Strengthening improved Cook stove Access towards a better quality of Life and Environment) is jointly funded by the SWITCH Asia Programme of the European Union with €2 million euros, the French Agency for Development and several private foundations.
The project is implemented by GERES (Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy and Solidarity) in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, the Forest Research Institute and the Dry Zone Greening Department.