Globally, about 2.8 million people depend on solid wood fuel for energy, developing countries account for more than 90% of this population. About 70% of households in Sub-Saharan depend on wood fuel for energy. The combustion of solid wood fuel indoors and outdoors emits smoke with particles that have adverse effects on the health of users. This chapter investigates the health effects of wood fuel combustion on the users and evaluates the potential of bioenergy from tree commodities as a sustainable remedy. Through a literature review of literature on health effects of wood fuel, this chapter shows that acute respiratory infections, lung problems, cataract, cardiovascular diseases and bronchitis are common public health issues that wood fuel users suffer from. Bioenergy provides a clean and healthier alternative energy for rural households; tree commodities provide a more sustainable option for millions of Africans who depend on tree commodities for their livelihoods. Estimates show that between 4.26E+06 and 1.14E+07 MW of bioelectricity can be generated from tree commodities, while 6.26E+08 to 1.71E+09 litres of bioethanol and 4.27E+08 to 1.14E+09 litres of biodiesel can potentially be generated from tree commodities. Significant government support, financial investment, public-private partnerships and community sensitisation are required for tree commodities to sustainable provide clean and healthy bioenergy to rural Africa.
Part of the book: Public Health in Developing Countries