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Women in non-notified bastis vulnerable to household air pollution, can't access LPG

USAID and Asar Social Impact Advisors conducted research “Barriers to Access, Adoption, and Sustained Use of Cleaner Fuels Among Low-Income Households: An Exploratory Study from Delhi and Jharkhand, India,” with focus groups and in-depth interviews in urban communities in Delhi and in several villages in rural Jharkhand with assistance from NGO partners Cornerstone Knowledge Builders in Delhi and HOPE in Jharkhand. A report:

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Asar Social Impact Advisors (ASAR) announced the release of “Barriers to Access, Adoption, and Sustained Use of Cleaner Fuels Among Low-Income Households: An Exploratory Study from Delhi and Jharkhand, India,” a report identifying strategies to reduce household air pollution and mitigate the damage to health and climate that it causes. The report comes as the culmination of a study conducted in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and was released by Mr. Kushagra Mittal, Deputy Secretary (LPG), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India and Ms.Nigam Agarwal, Director (Environment), Department of Environment, Government of Delhi at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on Monday.
Asar Social Impact Advisors conducted the research with focus groups and in-depth interviews in urban communities in Delhi and in several villages in rural Jharkhand, focusing on engaging women above 18 years of age. This study took part with support from USAID’s Cleaner Air Better Health project, and with assistance from NGO partners Cornerstone Knowledge Builders in Delhi and HOPE in Jharkhand.
USAID/India’s Environmental Advisor, Soumitri Das, said, “USAID’s air quality programming aims to mitigate and reduce ambient and household air pollution to reduce adverse health impacts, advance climate change mitigation and adaptation, and promote inclusive, sustainable development. This study, supported by USAID’s Cleaner Air and Better Health project, will enable us to frame policies and programs to match the needs of target populations, with a focus on gender inclusion.”
Neha Saigal, Head of the Gender and Climate Programme at Asar Social Impact Advisors, said: “Even though women are at risk of mild to severe health impacts due to the toxic fumes from biomass burning, they are often unaware of the consequences and can seldom do anything about it as a cleaner alternative as LPG is not affordable to most households in the lower socio-economic strata. We need continuous and sustained interventions at both demand and supply levels to address the issue.”
Sweety Sharma, Programme Manager, Cornerstone Knowledge Builders, said: “Women are also the ones who often gather the firewood, and this is a huge opportunity cost for them. Further, the context of women with respect to their incomes and access to basic services determines their access to and adoption of cleaner fuels. Women in non-notified bastis are more vulnerable since they do not have better earning capacity or have access to better delivery of LPG.”
The study includes recommendations on behaviour change and awareness campaigns on the health and climate impacts of biomass burning and highlights the benefits of using LPG, highlighting the benefits of educating existing Self Help Groups within communities. The findings and recommendations will be used to design pilot interventions to improve access to and adoption of cleaner cooking fuel for low-income households in India. This, in turn, would reduce household air pollution and its health impacts, and help mitigate climate change.

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