KATHMANDU: Despite progress in the quality of electricity access in recent years, clean cooking remains a challenge for Nepal, as firewood, which is polluting and causes a myriad of heath issues particularly for women and children, remains the most widely used source of cooking fuel, states a first-of-its-kind national survey conducted by the World Bank in 2017.
As per the report, almost 73.5 per cent of households in Nepal still cook with firewood, animal waste, crop residue or plant biomass while less than two out of 10 households – about 17.5 per cent – have access to modern cooking services, according to the survey report.
However, the World Bank survey shows that 95 out of 100 households in Nepal have access to electricity, while 72 out of 100 households have access to reliable, affordable and uninterrupted access to electricity for a significant part of the day, marking remarkable progress over the past decade.
Despite this progress on the coverage and quality of electricity access, about the same number of households — 70 out of 100 — continue to use firewood and other polluting and harmful fuels for cooking in Nepal, the survey shows.
“Providing access to high-quality energy services to each and every person in Nepal is one of the high priorities of the government. We are working to achieve 100 per cent energy access by year 2023,” stated Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation.
The survey report shows that about 67 per cent of households had uninterrupted access to electricity for at least eight hours a day, where supply is affordable, reliable and conducive for the use of household appliances like fans and televisions. Overall, about 71.7 per cent of households drew electricity from the national grid, while 23 per cent were connected to off-grid sources like micro or mini-hydro and solar power.