KPLC Warns Expectant Mothers Against Cooking With Charcoal, Wood

  • A photo of Kenyan cooking using firewood
    A photo of Kenyan cooking using firewood
  • Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) warned expectant mothers against the use of firewood or charcoal to cook. 

    According to KPLC, using the aforementioned heat sources endangers both pregnant women and their unborn babies.

    “When pregnant women cook using charcoal or firewood, they inhale carbon monoxide that exposes them to health risks.

    “Some of health issues include adverse birth and maternal health issues as well as the foetus developing health problems up to adulthood,” KPLC advised in a statement dated December 1, 2022. 

    A photo of women carrying firewood
    A photo of women carrying firewood

    It further warned that cooking solid fuels, such as wood and charcoal, causes household air pollution.

    “This has become a leading cause of death in many developing countries,” the company warned.

    To avoid this adverse health issue, Kenya Power advised expectant mothers and the Kenyan general population to use electrical appliances for cooking.

    KPLC’s statement came when electricity charges were expected to reduce after Kenya started importing cheap hydroelectric power from Ethiopia.

    Even with additional electricity to the national power grid, most Kenyans still rely on solid and biomass fuels for cooking.

    A report by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation found that 65 per cent of Kenyans rely on firewood as their primary fuel source.

    "71 per cent of households in Kenya use firewood or charcoal as either their primary or secondary source of cooking fuel."

    "Majority of that number is located at rural areas where 92 per cent of the population use biomass fuel for cooking," the report revealed.

    With millions of Kenyans yet to be connected to the national grid, KPLC's push for electric cooking could be a tall order.

    The warning by KPLC came when the government is considering plans to revamp the country's transport system by stepping up the establishment of electric car charging stations.

    Such efforts are geared towards embracing green energy as the world grapples with effects of climate change.

    Use of charcoal and wood as cooking energy in the country has seen Kenya's forest cover drop. President William Ruto has already rolled out tree-planting programs, with youths who were involved in Kazi Mtaani initiative set to be on-boarded for the exercise.

    File image of Kenya Power electricians at work
    File image of Kenya Power electricians at work