Climate Change Programme

Clean Cook Stoves in Assam Tea Plantations

The Clean Cookstove programme of SEWA in Assam has promoted the adoption of clean cookstoves for tea estate workers and rural households. In tea estates, households require 3 stacks (A stack is roughly 6 feet X 6 feet X 6 feet in length, breadth, and height, or approximately 216 cft. of firewood) of firewood annually to cook their daily meals. One stack of firewood is supplied by the management annually, and the remaining is bought, collected, or illegally sourced from forests by households. Forest wood is largely used as an energy source for cooking in rural areas. Only 11.14% of rural households (Census, 2011) have access to an LPG connection. People largely depend on forests for the collection of fuel wood, both for domestic consumption and for commercial outlets. Therefore, the project aims to provide an alternative to the community by way of fuel-efficient stoves and knowledge so that their dependency on forest firewood can be minimised and, subsequently, the habitat can be saved with such intervention. SEWA has been working for several years to save the environment, reduce air pollution, and reduce the health impact of indoor smoke. SEWA has already installed CleanCook stoves in 1500 households across 8 tea estates as part of the Fuel Efficiency Stove in Tea Estates of Assam Project, which was funded by Give2Asia USA under the CSR support of Twinings. The project has alleviated the burden on women and children, who spend a disproportionate amount of their productive time collecting firewood. The clean cookstoves have provided an opportunity to reduce the incidences of smoke-related respiratory and eye problems, especially among women and children. The goal of the Clean Cookstove Project is to promote an enabling market for efficient and clean cook stoves by strengthening local capacity in the production and distribution of cook stoves. Clean cookstoves are highly effective in reducing fuel wood consumption and improving the general health and hygiene of the community. The traditional use of fuel wood for cookstoves, which is mostly extracted from the nearby forest, has led to habitat loss and contributed to air pollution that is detrimental to the health of locals. Apart from households, fuel wood is also used for cooking in commercial establishments, e.g. Anganwadi Centre, schools, etc. In order to address this problem of widespread use of fuel wood, SEWA is providing clean cookstoves, which have less impact on the environment and health compared to conventional stoves used by the community. Give2Asia supported the Fuel Efficiency Stove Project of SEWA, which has developed two stove models: 1. Single pot rocket stove with a larger mouth that can burn even larger pieces of wood eliminates 70% of indoor air pollution and has a fuel efficiency rate of 30-35%. The cost of this clean cook stove is INR 350  2. Double pot stove with a chimney that eliminates 90% of indoor air pollution and has a fuel efficiency of 22-25%. The cost of this stove is INR 650.