Julia Roberts, Clinton: Poor Nations Need Clean Stoves

Millions die each year in developing nations, mostly women and children
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2011 3:32 PM CDT
A family in India uses a model stove from Envirofit.   (PRNewsFoto/Envirofit International)
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(Newser) – Hillary Clinton gets a little star power today in pushing one of her initiatives: She and Julia Roberts team up on a USA Today op-ed highlighting the danger of dirty stoves in the developing world. "Some 3 billion people live in homes where food is cooked on stoves or over fires burning fuels like wood, dung, charcoal, or agricultural waste," they write. The toxic fumes that result kill 2 million people a year, according to WHO, twice as many as malaria. Most of those victims are women and children.

"On average, women and girls in developing countries spend up to 20 hours a week searching for fuel—time they could spend going to school, running a business, or raising their families," they write. "And if they live in areas of conflict, leaving home to search for fuel puts them at great risk of assault or rape." Clinton and Roberts say a relatively new UN initiative—the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves—is working to encourage governments and businesses around the world to get inexpensive, efficient stoves in place, but more attention and help is needed.

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