Indoor pollution more dangerous to teenage girls, women

March 11, 2019


 Also places rural and informal settler communities to fire risks

A non-government organization is launching a campaign to raise awareness on home or indoor pollution, a silent killer especially in rural and poor urban communities.
    The Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and Environment (Pinoy Aksyon) seeks to raise awareness on home pollution and other risks due to essential home practices – like cooking.
    “We hope to enlighten  public of these real risks and hopefully encourage behavior  change,” said Stan Salcedo, program officer of Pinoy Aksyon.
    The group said they have thought of rolling out this behaviour change communication campaign after getting hold of alarming information of home or indoor pollution which is primarily caused by use of crude wood-based fuels for cooking and heating.
    Last Saturday (March 9, 2019), the group held a seminar and workshop on Indoor pollution: Solutions and options at the Habitat for Humanity Multi-purpose Hall in the Pagatpat Sendong Relocation Site. Pinoy Aksyon has also rolled out an community information drive on indoor pollution.
    “Knowing our culture, teenage girls and women are placed at higher risk to these pollutants as they are traditionally assigned to home cooking,” Salcedo added.
    Exposure to indoor pollution from burning wood-based fuel results in higher risk of developing respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.
    It may also aggravate heart diseases and trigger strokes.
    A study in 2016 by the World Health Organization reveal around 80 deaths per 100,000 Filipinos could be attributed to indoor air pollution. Cagayan de Oro which has a population of around 800,000, that is a staggering 640 lives a year.
    The data does not include mortality due to fire. Most fires in rural areas, mostly beyond the effective reach of fire fighters, like those of the Bureau of Fire Protection, are unreported.
    The latest recorded fire in the upland was in barangay Besigan when the dirty kitchen of Jocelyn Legaspi-Minister, mother of a family of seven was left unattended resulting in the burning down of their house around 9 pm last March 4, 2019. Minister sought assistance from the City Social Welfare and Development Office for basic household relief goods and other calamity assistance.
    Several studies agree that using firewood and charcoal is the primary source of indoor or home pollution. There are also studies that indicate these fuels are actually more expensive than other cooking fuels like liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
    Pinoy Aksyon is rolling out their behaviour change communication project in the two biggest relocation sites in the city, in Calaanan, Canitoan and Pagatpat.
    “We have chosen these relocation areas for this behavioral change communication project as these communities are still in the process of building and we hope to provide the community dwellers information and options more healthful and environment-friendly options,” said Pinoy Aksyon chairman BenCy Ellorin.
    Another component of their project is an energy audit. Ellorin said the energy audit would give us a snapshot of the current sources and uses of energy. “This is in line with our advocacy for low carbon economy.| he said, further saying that awareness and education may hold key for low energy consumption like using less greenhouse gas emitting fuels and energy efficient appliances.
    Pinoy Aksyon is an independent advocacy group and think-tank. It envisions itself as a platform where citizens can raise their issues, concerns and solutions to community and social problems.
    Salcedo said they timed the roll out of their project this month because it is Women’s Month and Fire Prevention Month.



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