Assessment of Health Effects Related to the Use of Biomass Fuel and Indoor Air Pollution in Kapkokwon Sub-Location, Bomet Country, Kenya


Biomass Fuel (BMF) refers to burned plant or animal material; wood, charcoal, dung and crop residues which account for more than half of domestic energy in most developing countries and for as much as 95% in low income countries. It is estimated that about 3 billion people in the world rely on biomass fuel for cooking, heating and lighting. The biomass fuel chain includes gathering, transportation, processing and combustion. These processes are predominantly managed by women where they work as gatherers, processors, carriers or transporters and also as end-users or cooks. Thus, they suffer health hazards at all stages of the biomass fuel chain. The main objective was to assess health effects related to the use of Biomass fuel and indoor air pollution in Kapkokwon Sub-location, Kericho County, Kenya from March to May, 2013. The study area was Kapkokwon sub location, Bomet County, Kenya. The study population was 202 households. Primary females of the household were the target group as they managed the biomass chain. A quantitative descriptive cross-sectional study design was adopted to assess the health effects associated to the use of biomass fuel and indoor air pollution. The research revealed that women suffer different type of physical ailments due to the biomass fuel chain. Physical exhaustion (86%), neck aches (78%), headaches (34%), knee aches (30%) and back aches (16%) were reported as the principal health effects associated with the third stage of the biomass fuel chain. Irritation of the mucus membrane of the eyes, nose and throat (100%), coughing (100%), burns (42%), shortness of breath (38%) and exacerbation of asthma (2%) were identified as principal health effects associated with the fourth stage of the biomass fuel chain (cooking). As a result of the detrimental impact of indoor air pollution (IAP) on health and mortality, many governments, non-governmental organization and international organizations should develop strategies aimed at reducing indoor air pollution. The strategies to include subsidization of cleaner fuel technologies, development, promotion and subsidization of improved cooking stoves, use of solar thermal cookers and solar hot water heaters, processing biomass fuel to make them cleaner, modifying user behavior and improved household design.

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Ndwiga, T. , Kei, R. , Jepngetich, H. and Korrir, K. (2014) Assessment of Health Effects Related to the Use of Biomass Fuel and Indoor Air Pollution in Kapkokwon Sub-Location, Bomet Country, Kenya. Open Journal of Air Pollution, 3, 61-69. doi: 10.4236/ojap.2014.33007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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