Household air pollution is the single most important environmental health risk worldwide, and women and children are at particularly high risks from exposure.

Women and girls bear the largest health burden not only from domestic pollution sources, but often also from related fuel-gathering tasks.

Despite more than a decade of work to reduce domestic air pollution sources, progress towards universal access to clean cooking fuels remains far too slow. Almost 3.1 billion people still rely on polluting, inefficient energy systems such as coal or kerosene to meet their daily cooking needs with a number virtually unchanged over the past decade. Also, too many households still depend on polluting fuels and devices for heating and lighting – particularly kerosene.

By cleaning up household energy, we have an unprecedented opportunity to improve human health, slow down climate change and free hundreds of millions of people, especially women and children, from the drudgery of daily fuel collection.

Clean household energy has the potential to drive progress on Sustainable Development Goals for energy, health, gender equality, sustainable urban environments, and climate action. Increased investments, targeted interventions and evidence-based policies can ignite this “burning opportunity” to bring about change.


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