In India, household air pollution from the combustion of solid fuels like firewood, dung, charcoal, and agricultural residues for daily energy requirements accounts for more than 400,000 premature deaths annually. Through Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), the Government of India is engaged in an ambitious national effort to provide access to clean-burning liquefied petroleum gas to 80 million households over five years to alleviate the health, environmental, and socio-economic burdens of traditional cooking practices. However, little is known about programme’s effect on households’ use of solid fuels, nor its effect on air pollution exposure in the long term.
Some states and regions remain reliant on traditional biomass cooking and face substantial burdens of disease from air pollution exposure. Bihar is one such state, and is, therefore, a priority for studying the impacts of PMUY.
In a longitudinal study of 50 rural Bihar households expected to receive an LPG connection through PMUY, within three months of our initial visit, we:
- Administer a comprehensive energy use survey to household heads and primary cooks to characterise household socio-economic characteristics, baseline cooking patterns, and perceptions of current stoves and alternative fuels;
- Estimate the degree to which PMUY has displaced traditional biomass stove use in rural Indian households and firewood collection; and
- Assess whether the adoption of an LPG stove through PMUY reduces personal air pollution exposure to the WHO interim-I guideline in rural Indian households previously using a traditional biomass stove.