Changes in household fuel and stove choices in Nairobi and their implication for indoor air quality and climate change
Owino, Gaudensia Aomo
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A study was conducted to evaluate the extent to which changes in Nairobi household fuel preferences for cooking over the past half decade might have impacted on human health and environmental protection. It also aimed to propose ways of improving household fuel consumption data collection and quality. The study was carried out between September 2003 and December 2004 in selected Nairobi households. It was conducted through questionnaire surveys and fuel quantity measurements in selected households in Nairobi, followed by trace gas emission data analysis and interpretation supported by relevant secondary data on consumption rates in households and constants e.g. emission factors. The study shed light on factors necessary to facilitate household transition from total reliance on charcoal use to a diverse energy mix having other cleaner commercial fuels. It was found that households adopted "fuel switching" strategies where new fuels were added without abandoning old ones. This resulted in an increase in the number and diversity of fuel mixes among the households, with fifteen fuel mix combinations being recorded. It was also found that consumption rate for charcoal was 0.350.19, LPG was 0.080.03 and kerosene was 0.12kg/cap/day. Calculations of emissions using established emission factors revealed that there was a decrease in the emissions of CH4, CO, CO2, NOX and TSP. The study findings indicated that there was a reduction of the overall net emissions from household fuels between 1997 and 2004 as compared to findings by another researcher working on a similar study in 1997. A total of 1.2 million tons of round wood equivalents (rwe) was conserved which had a potential to sequester 1.7 million cubic metres of CO2. The results obtained from this study showed that there was no evidence that using the monitoring method was superior to the questionnaire survey. Households in Nairobi have contributed to climate change mitigation (emission reduction or increased carbon sequestration potential) and human health risks reduction through changes in cooking fuel preferences for example from kerosene to LPG, charcoal to LPG over the past half decade.