In 2018, well over a third of people cannot cook cleanly. The 2018 Tracking SDG7: Energy Progress Report shows many of them are still using firewood, charcoal and animal dung for cooking. Inhaling the smoke as they cook results in several million premature deaths worldwide every year. While this story plays out for families around the world, in Sub-Saharan Africa the situation is particularly acute, with the number of people without access to clean cooking rising.
The most recent data from 2016 shows that 860 million people – 70 percent of Africans – cannot cook cleanly. Women and girls suffer the most. In addition to the effects of air pollution, they lose precious hours every day, collecting firewood – time that could otherwise be spent studying or working productively.
As this report documents, head loads of 20 kilograms are not uncommon as having to walk distances of up to 12 kilometers. And they may face perilous physical risks while collecting this firewood.