This is the Village of Razdolnoye in the outskirts of Bishkek. Alike residents of tens of other villages in the outskirts of the capital, and thousands of villages across the country, the residents of this village use stove in winter to heat their houses, and cook meals. The smoke from chimneys is the second major pollutant after old cars.
The resident of this village Larisa Kasymjanova installed a new stove to save fuel and keep her house warm for a longer period. The stove has a second benefit as well.
“There is a little smoke when it starts burning, but when it burns up it’s like a gas stove, no smoke from the chimney. When we used the old stove, the snow on the roof would become black. If the neighbors did not know, they would ask me if I didn’t fire the stove,” said Larisa in her interview to BBC.
According to WHO, the mortality rate of the people with lung diseases in Kyrgyzstan is 146 to 100,000. It is the highest ratio in Eurasia. 48% of the country’s male population are smokers, and the number of female smokers in rural areas is less than 1%. However, the proportion of females and males with chronic lung diseases is almost equal.
“The second proven reason after smoking is polluted indoor air. Because of high content of fume and other contaminants in the air that cause lung and other diseases; and inhaling of such air by people, especially women and children who usually stay at home in the wintertime, the number of people suffering from lung diseases is high. The number of children with lung diseases is also high.” said Talantbek Sooronbaev, the Chief Pulmonologist of Kyrgyzstan.
Larisa’s stove has very few openings. There are bricks installed inside the stove to retain heat; the coal is put in one of the compartments of the stove, where it slowly drops into the second compartment, and burns out completely. It generates very little ash.
The WB is testing the stoves invented by Crispin Pemberton-Pigott in 51 households among vulnerable group.
“The pollution which comes from not burning the smoke properly is what we call air pollution. But in fact, if you burn the fuel completely, you don’t have this pollution. So, it’s the secondary benefit. But what we found here investigating and measuring inside homes, is the air pollution in winter inside the house is much worse than the outdoor air pollution. Dwellers of the houses with old stoves carried air monitors for two days, and the monitoring results showed that sometimes the gas-content exceeded the standards by 100%. And after installation of new stoves the content of gas was negligible,” said Crispin Pemberton-Pigott.
In Kyrgyzstan people often burn garbage and waste that are not considered stove fuel. Therefore, doctors remind that the indoor clean air is critical for health, especially of women and children