Over 70% of rural households use firewood for cooking in Nagaland

Chopped firewood in a village in Nagaland. (Morung file Photo)

Chopped firewood in a village in Nagaland. (Morung file Photo)

Morung Express news 
Kohima | March 1 

Nagaland’s rural household is ranked 4th highest in use of firewood as primary cooking fuel in the country. 

According to a Multiple Indicator Survey in India 2020-2021, NSS 78th round, March 2023 report, 74.2% rural households in the state depends on firewood, chips and crop residue as the primary cooking fuel. 

While, about only 25.5% are dependent on LPG and 0.2% as other sources. 

In India, according to the findings, in atleast 12 states or Union Territories more than 50% of rural households use firewood, chips and crop residue as primary cooking fuel. 

Nationally, 46.7% are dependent on firewood and other residue. 

Cooking fuels include dung cake, kerosene, solar cooking and other forms. 

Meanwhile, in the urban sector, the major portions of the population are dependent on LPG for cooking with 88.4% dependent on LPG. 11% still depends on firewood and other residue as primary cooking fuel. 

Nationally, 89% in the urban sector now depends on LPG. 

Despite, an increase in LPG connections in the recent years and other electrical cooking appliances, households continue to use firewood in the hearths especially in rural areas.

One of the reasons, for high percentage of use of firewood in the Naga hearth, can be attributed to its significant role in social, economic and cultural attachment to the people, writes Samhita Barooah, a researcher and Travel writer, in an article, Flames of Firewood. 

For Ato (name changed), burning of firewood or charcoal is part of their everyday village lifestyle. “Most of us collect firewood during dry season for the rest of the year from our own jungles. Few people who do not own sufficient jungle land procure them.” 

He adds that LPG gas connection although introduced to almost all the household, is used alternately. One reason is because of the way they are use to burning firewood and also to save LPG gas for refilling every month. 

However, cooking fuels including burning of firewood, crop residue or chips are considered hazardous to health and to compound problems, indoor air pollution is far more hazardous. 

An article in the recently published State of India's Environment 2024, Ready to e-cook? by Noble Varghese, cites, “exposure to long-term air pollution is the fourth leading cause of death globally (after high blood pressure, dietary, risks and tobacco use) accounting to almost 7 million deaths annually.” 

Indoor air pollution is observed to be far more hazardous. 

“This is because of close proximity of the people to the burning fuel (while cooking, for instance), and inadequate ventilation, especially in most rural Indian households especially in winters.”