Students of Indian Institute of Technology,Delhi,have taken on a new project to educate women in villages about pollution-free means of cooking.
Project Aanch works on a simple ideology something as essential to life as cooking shouldnt kill. It will focus on women in Bhatti mines village,on the outskirts of the capital,and help them understand the environmental and health benefits of using pollution-free fuel to cook.
Most of the households in the area use traditional wood-fired stoves,which have poor fuel efficiency and high levels of indoor air pollution,which leads to regular coughing and other respiratory problems.
Women in the village are also faced with the burden of collecting fire wood for fuel,a task which requires them to go deep into the forest at least twice a week.
Under the new scheme,their traditional stoves will be replaced with modern,smokeless versions,which will check indoor air pollution levels and create a positive impact on the health of these communities.
The new stoves,which will have higher efficiency,are also expected to check felling of trees for fuel.
The project also aims to generate employment opportunities for rural people as everything,from manufacturing the stove to installation and maintenance,will be handled by the people themselves, the project team leader Divish Gupta said.
The new chulhas (stoves) have been designed by the students themselves,who have tested the devices for various parameters such as safety and emission level. According to the students,they trained four women in the community to manufacture the chulha locally and to sell it within their community. It has also been ensured that raw materials to make the chulhas are available locally.
We have tied up with Philips,which provided us with the model of a smokeless chulha. The new stoves cut down particulate matter as well as carbon monoxide emissions by more than 50 per cent. This,along with a chimney,ensures that whatever emissions are produced,are removed from the house, Gupta said.
The team comprises 23 students from second year to fourth year as part of the Enactus chapter at IIT-D. The students spend two days a week and educate the members of the Bhatti Mines community in Chhatarpur.
The group has been working with the community for six months and claims to have created grassroot entrepreneurs,who will eventually inspire other women in the community.