New Hindi guidance aims to help improve air quality in Indian kitchens
The University of Surrey's Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) has published new guidance in Hindi to help improve indoor air quality when cooking. This initiative brings together occupants, builders, landlords, and local authorities across India, with the goal of creating a healthier environment in kitchens.
Cooking is a leading contributor to poor indoor air quality, responsible for four million premature deaths annually and linked to illnesses such as heart disease, lung cancer, and strokes. GCARE researchers conducted a groundbreaking study of 60 low-income kitchens across Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. They discovered that unhealthy cooking practices, such as frying, led to a more than 50% increase in harmful fine particulate matter emissions.
Professor Prashant Kumar from the University of Surrey, who led the research informing the guidelines, said:
"Many people overlook the fumes generated while cooking meals, but the associated health risks are significant. Simple actions can substantially improve home health, such as opening a window, steaming rather than frying, and keeping those not actively cooking away from the kitchen to protect them from inhaling harmful toxins."
The Hindi guidance includes recommendations for home cooks, policymakers, builders, landlords, and local authorities in India. It aims to bridge the knowledge gap and provide efficient ways to mitigate the harmful impacts of kitchen emissions on health and the environment.
Dr Anwar Ali Khan, a co-author of the guidance from the Department of Environment, Government of Delhi, who supports the guidance implementation in India, said:
"In the Indian context, these guidelines can be a significant resource to develop inventories of air pollution from household kitchens and create a similar novel framework document on kitchen emission safeguards. The forthcoming Hindi guidance will make it more accessible to Indian households, builders, and policymakers, furthering our efforts to improve indoor air quality."
Dr Suman Mor, a co-author of the guidance from the Department of Environment Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India, who supports the guidance implementation in India, said:
"There is a need to focus on poor air quality in indoor microenvironments. Hence, such step-by-step guidelines will be a valuable tool to guide users to minimise their exposure and associated health risks. I am also happy to be a part of the Hindi translation team, and we hope this will help to reach a large audience who may benefit from the straightforward and to the point."
Dr Ravindra Khaiwal, Professor of Environment Health at the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health at a top hospital and research institute of India known as PGIMER, Chandigarh, mentioned:
"Exposure to indoor and household air pollution has become a major risk factor to human health. There is a need to highlight simple and affordable preventive measures to minimize the health risks of air pollution exposure, and the booklet is a perfect example to reach and serve the large audience."
The guidance can be accessed on the University of Surrey's website.