According to recent statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency, the average open fire produces nearly as much carbon dioxide as the average motor vehicle.
Traditional open fire cookstoves are not able to effectively convert the energy from biomass fuels like wood, charcoal, animal dung, and crop waste into heat for cooking. Instead, the combustion of the fuel is incomplete, and harmful pollutants are released as a byproduct.
Among the toxic pollutants emitted in this process are greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and black carbon.
The demand for firewood has a very significant environmental impact. It contributes to deforestation, soil erosion, and desertification. This is particularly significant in urban regions of sub-Saharan Africa.
For example, Uganda has lost 29 percent of its forests since 1990 and almost 90 percent of all wood harvested in Africa is used for fuel, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.