Being a Public Health major, I like to find things that are studied as a Public Health problem, but also as an environmental issue. Obviously, most of our degradation of the environment directly affects us. However, something I found quite interesting was indoor air pollution. Before talking about it in class and then watching a TED talk, which was coming up with a stove that would cut down on the problem, I always thought about pollution being outdoor. When I hear the word pollution, I thought of factory emissions or plastic bottles floating in the ocean.
Indoor pollution is a form of pollution that is mainly produced by cooking fires, such as that in third world countries. These fires are inside of the people houses, and are used not only for cooking, but for warmth. For fuel, the people use biomass (derived from living resources, such as wood and animal excriments).
From a health standpoint, the smoke from the fire contained in the villagers house is a major killer. These people, who are mostly women and children, need this fire for warmth and cooking, but they are constantly breathing in the thick smoke. According to the TED talk, some of the children breath in the smoke equivalant smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. This leads to many health problems, such as lung problems and strokes.
From an environmental standpoint, the fires produce black carbon, which is the second biggest contributer to carbon change. As talked about in the TED talk, these fires contribute more black carbon than all of the cars and truck in the world, combined. It can also lead to deforestation, because of the constant need for more fuel.
Though this is a major problem, the cookstoves talked about in the video could be a major help! It not only saves on fuel, but it produces electricity for the villagers to use. This talk gave me a renewed source of hope, because even though sometimes the issues hurting our environment seem overwhelming and impossible to reverse, there are people coming up with solutions that will make areas more sustainable and reverse or stop some of the effects on our environment.
TED Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3Zsj4Lfs_o