Persistence of solid fuel use despite increases in LPG ownership: New survey evidence from rural north India (working paper)
Authors: Aashish Gupta, Sangita Vyas, Payal Hathi, Nazar Khalid, Nikhil Srivastav, Dean Spears, Diane Coffey
Solid fuel use is an important contributor to air pollution and disease burden in India. We present survey evidence documenting LPG ownership and cooking fuel use in rural north India. LPG ownership has increased rapidly, substantially driven by the Ujjwala Yojana.
Three-quarters of rural households in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh now have LPG. Almost all of these households also have a stove that uses solid fuels, and among those owning both, almost three-quarters used solid fuels the day before the survey. Poverty, relative costs of cooking fuels, gender inequality, and beliefs regarding the ease, food taste, and health impacts of cooking with solid fuels versus LPG are important contributors to high solid fuel use despite LPG ownership.
Households that continue to use solid fuels continue to expose themselves, their household members, and their neighbours to harmful air pollution. To realize the full health benefits of Ujjwala’s expansion in LPG ownership, attention must now be turned towards discouraging the use of solid fuels and promoting exclusive use of LPG. This is an urgent priority for research, policy, and action.