One of the benefits of this lockdown is that we’re all avoiding outside food and cooking at home. But if you’re a person who is using a gas stove for all that cooking, it might not be good for you.
A research found out that gas stoves are contributing towards pollution that makes indoor air up to two to five times dirtier than outdoor air. This is also making people sick.
This study was conducted by the Rocky Mountain Institute and multiple environmental advocacy groups in the US. It emphasized that fossil-fuel-burning stoves are likely exposing tens of millions of Americans to air pollution levels that would be illegal if they were outside.
Even though the study is based out of the US, it is applicable to anyone using a gas stove. Even 80% of Indian households were using cooking gas until March 2018. The numbers increased after the govt. initiated schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.
According to this study, gas stoves emit fumes containing large amounts of nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide. These fumes can cause headaches, dizziness, and respiratory disorders,cardiovascular effects among other health implications.
But considering we’re trapped in our homes now more than ever due to the lockdown, we are exposed to these emissions on a daily basis.
Even though cooking food at home can’t be avoided, the author of the study suggested using another means i.e. electric stoves,
Since electric stoves do not emit high levels of combustion pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, they are inherently cleaner than gas stoves. In the first published intervention study to remediate indoor nitrogen dioxide concentrations from gas stoves, researchers found that replacing a gas stove with an electric stove decreased median nitrogen dioxide concentrations by 51 percent in the kitchen.
Indoor air pollution hits the poor section of the society more because they are often also exposed to lead, mercury, highways and industrial plants due to the kind of environent they they are exposed to.
By making a slight change on our end, we’re not helping ourselves but will help those who are mos vulnerable.