Durban, South Africa Dec. 15, 2000 SolarQuest® iNet News Service
MORE than one hundred women from the US/Africa ministers' of Mineral and Energy attended a heated discussion on issues related to health, safety and energy efficiency in energy use.
The first day of the conference held at the Durban International Cenvention Centre (ICC), attended by Non-governmental organisations (NGO), private sector and United States and African ministers from the departments of Mineral and Energy, focused on gender issues where it highlighted the health dangers that women are exposed to on daily basis when they use energy.
US/Africa Women in Energy ministry speakers tabled their concern on women who suffer from respiratory and associated health ailments, which are directly linked to their constant exposure to unhealthy, unreliable and often dirty energy resources.
Addressing delegates, South African Deputy Minister of Minerals and Energy Ms Susan Shabandu said there is an urgent need to address the issue of energy use negative impact health on women affecting rural women who use energy in their daily activities.
"Women and girls are the ones that are directly involved in the activities that expose them into health risk factors.
"The burning of fuelwood and in countries such as South Africa the burning of coal causes pollution and exposes women to smoke, causing lungs problems," said Shabangu.
Minister of Minerals and Energy Ms Syda Bbumba also expressed her concern over the health related dangers facing women who require and use energy for household chores.
"In the process of cooking women and children are exposed to pollutants, which have diverse effects on their health.
In Uganda it is estimated that cooking on the three stone hearth using firewood exposes women and children to large quantities of pollutants," concluded Bbumba.