NGOs and companies across Cambodia are taking action in response to the mass use of charcoal and forest biomass in household and restaurant kitchens countrywide. The shift away from these polluting fuel sources to cleaner energy alternatives is being sparked by health and environmental concerns. Education is a key strategy for implementing the shift away from charcoal and wood, as their use is ingrained in the culture, with many Cambodians saying food doesn’t taste as good when cooked with other fuels. One innovative solution is turning the country’s coconut husks into “green charcoal,” which is already earning the nation recognition for being a global leader within the sustainable charcoal sector. Cambodia’s farmers are also moving away from using forest biomass for energy, and are instead utilizing biodigesters to turn household and farm waste into biogas for cooking and to make organic fertilizer. Sim Saran spent years navigating the badly ventilated traditional kitchen of her small family home in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province. Choking on acrid smoke daily, she found it hard to breathe as she cooked for her family of six over a wood fire, just as past generations had done. “I know it’s smoky, but I had no […]

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