A total of 129.33 million people or 77% of Bangladeshis do not have access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking at home, which is the highest among South Asian countries, revealed a report released on Monday.
Clean cooking refers to the usage of clean cooking fuels and technologies at households.
About 92% of households in rural Bangladesh use solid fuels, such as wood, coal and animal dung, for cooking and heating. These types of fuel sources come at little or no cost, which makes them attractive for millions of poor people in the country.
The use of these types of polluting fuels causes household air pollution which in turn contributes to respiratory illness, heart problems and even death.
Even if households agree to adopt clean cooking technologies, the access to clean fuels like ethanol, LPG is often expensive and supply constrained.
Tracking SDG 7: The energy progress report was produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the World Bank, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Among South Asian nations, the Maldives has the highest access to clean cooking, covering its 99% of the population, followed by Bhutan (79%), India (64%) and Pakistan (49%).
Bangladesh is not only far behind these countries but also behind Afghanistan, the war-torn country covering 36% of its population with access to clean cooking while the coverage in Nepal and Sri Lanka is 31%.
People in developed countries like the United States of America, Sweden, France, Germany, Norway, Finland, Singapore and Denmark are enjoying 100% access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking.
In 2019, 66% of the global population had access to clean cooking fuels and technologies—electricity, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), natural gas, biogas, solar, and alcohol-fuel stoves, according to the report.
Dr. Maria Neira, director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at WHO, said, "Moving towards scaling up clean and sustainable energy is key to protect human health and to promote healthier populations, particularly in remote and rural areas."
She further said, "Far too many people, often the most vulnerable ones, such as women and children, still lack access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, exposing them to dangerous levels of household air pollution.
"A healthy and green recovery from Covid-19 includes the importance of ensuring a quick transition to clean and sustainable energy", she added.
According to the report, 92% of Bangladeshis had access to electricity in 2019, yet 12.72 million people still live without electricity.
Bangladesh underperforms in renewable energy generation, consumption
Renewable energy share in total energy consumption in Bangladesh is only 30.7%. It is one of the lowest in South Asia, just ahead of Afghanistan and the Maldives.
Bhutan leads in this case, with 81% of renewable energy share in energy consumption. It is followed by Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India.
According to the report, solid biofuel is the leading renewable energy source in Bangladesh accounting for 30.4% of the total use of renewable energy. Hydro and solar are the other two sources of renewable energy.
Renewable energy is mostly used for the purpose of heat raising in Bangladesh in manufacturing industries, construction and non-fuel mining industries, residential, commercial and public services and in agriculture, forestry and fishing.
Renewable energy is also used for electricity consumption but the report shows the country does not use renewable energy in transport.
SDG 7.2 target aims to "increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030".
Over the past decade, renewable energy consumption has seen unprecedented development globally. But, renewable energy as a share of total energy consumption worldwide has not seen much growth as the figure reaches 17.1% in 2018 from 16.4% in 2010.
This report, for the first-time tracks the progress in SDG indicator 7.B.1.
SDG 7.B.1 indicates installed renewable energy-generating capacity in developing countries in terms of watts per capita.
In per capita terms, Bangladesh has a renewable energy installation capacity of 3.2 watts, lowest in South Asia. On the other hand, Bhutan has the highest (3060 watts) installed renewable electricity generating capacity per capita.
The report said that at today's rate of progress, the world is not on track to achieve SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.