‘How kerosene poses threat to 30 millon Nigerian households’
The Federal Government has been urged to promote the use of clean energy, as indications emerged that the continued usage of kerosene and its environmental effects is posing threat to about 30 million households, killing mostly women across the country.
The Executive-Vice Chairman of Techno Oil Limited, Nkechi Obi, who disclosed this while chairing a session at the OTL Seminar and Exhibition, in Lagos said over 30 million Nigerian households using kerosene and firewood face severe health hazards.
Obi, who emphasised the need to convert to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), said the hazards often arise from the side effects of smokes emitting from use of firewood and kerosene.
Describing the problem as a gender issue that government should look into, she said: “Nigerian women must not cook to die, they must cook to live.
“People in authority should not close their eyes to our mothers, wives and sisters being decimated.
“Firewood and kerosene remain the most used means of domestic cooking in Nigeria, leading to high-level decimation of our women, due to smoke.
“Cooking with firewood is a silent killer because firewood smoke is more dangerous than cigarette smoke.’’
Citing a recent World Health Organization report, she said that cooking with firewood often resulted to indoor pollution, which globally accounted for over four million deaths every year.
Obi, who received Federal Government’s commendation few years ago for the `Techno Oil Cooksafe Initiative’ in popularizing cooking gas, said she was looking forward to when most Nigerian households would embrace LPG.
According to her, prolonged use of biomass and kerosene for cooking have led to increased cases of lung diseases, aggravated asthma, premature deaths and greenhouse emissions, resulting to climatic change.
She argued that there was need to exploit Nigeria’s huge gas reserve, estimated at about 187 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
The industrialist lamented that Nigeria still ranked lowest in sub-Saharan Africa in per capita usage of LPG, consuming 1.1kg, compared with Ghana at 3.0kg.
She added: “South Africa consumes 5.5kg, while Morocco consumes 44kg per capita’’.
Obi, however, listed some challenges that had been making it difficult for more Nigerians to embrace LPG, citing inadequate public awareness on safety, limited distributive outlets and high cost of LPG cylinders.
“These realities compelled Techno Oil to embark on the “Techno Oil Cooksafe Initiative” advocacy for a switch from firewood and kerosene to LPG.
“Our passion for cleaner environment and safety of our women made us to incorporate the advocacy as part of our corporate social responsibility.
“Our main objective is to create awareness for a switch to LPG. We have aggressively distributed over 50,000 units of gas stoves at discounted prices through market women across the country.
She noted, however, that it was difficult for the private sector to do it alone, suggesting that government should handle awareness creation and also provide enabling environment, financial and infrastructural incentives while the private sector will undertake the other projects, such as Techno oil is doing today through the construction of 5 million annual capacity LPG Cylinder Manufacturing Plant and LPG Storage Terminal.
“We submit that government should do a one-off subsidy intervention by subsidizing cylinders to households,’’ Obi said.