An energy expert has raised concern over the use of firewood for cooking by people in rural areas revealing it as a health hazard that can lead to death.
Wellington Madumira, who was presenting on the Energy Situation in Zimbabwe, revealed that many women and children were in danger as they cooked using firewood.
“Illness from indoor pollution results in more death of women and children than HIV,” said Madumira.
Smoke from firewood causes lung diseases including asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
Although the government is encouraging the use of other energy sources such as solar systems and biogas, 80-90 percent of the rural population still uses firewood which also promotes deforestation as substitutes seem expensive.
Solar panels for cooking cost not less than $1000 with a danger of buying a substandard product and also needing correct angling for the maximum harvesting of the sun.
Building a biogas also costs not less than $1000 too and requires experts who are not found everywhere in Zimbabwe.
Over 60 percent of the population are earning below the poverty datum line that is below $500 whilst rural people live on a dollar per day in rural Zimbabwe hence it is a challenge to raise $1000.
Electricity access has reached 79 percent of the urban population whilst rural electrification is below 19 percent in Zimbabwe according to Madumira.
Zimbabwe, which is importing over 600 megawatts of electricity from its neighbors has the potential of producing 2 000 megawatts.
The country, which is getting most of its electricity from thermal and hydro plants has got suitable conditions for solar, wind and biomass.