KEMRI Reports On The Hidden Dangers of Charcoal Stoves

By The Weekly Vision Reporter

A Kenyan parent has expressed grave alarm at the recent findings by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) showing that schoolchildren in urban and peri-urban centres, including Nairobi and Mombasa, were at risk of breathing carbon monoxide due to overcrowding and the use of charcoal stoves.

Mrs Anita Weswa was commenting on the report following a 6-month study by KEMRI conducted countrywide. She said the findings were a wake-up call to the government and related stakeholders in the housing and construction sectors to build houses with chimneys; the practice had been discarded following the high demand for housing, especially in informal settlements.

“We have a situation where actors in the real estate and construction industry, no longer bother to build chimneys in kitchens—something that has worsened with the overcrowding in informal settlements now exposing the future generation, who are the youth, to slow but systematic exposure to carbon monoxide,” she told The Weekly Vision. 

She said there was a need for the entire construction industry involved in the Affordable Housing project that is ongoing to factor in the question of fire-place chimneys and the use of renewable, clean energy, which was the best way out of the risk of carbon monoxide.

KEMRI studies have pointed at the growing risk of many young people going to school and growing up with clear health challenges posed by carbon monoxide, which is a grave risk to the environment and a driving factor in the climate change that is currently bedevilling the country and has recently claimed more than 200 lives and displaced thousands through heavy flooding.

In addition, they welcomed reports of close research partnerships between the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and KEMRI, which are collaborating on diverse medical studies aimed at finding a cure for many diseases and vaccines against malaria and HIV/AIDS. This follows the current state visit to America by President William Ruto.