A Nobel laureate, a MacArthur Genius, a globally renowned inventor and a senior energy specialist working at the World Bank were just some of the delegates who travelled from across the globe to Wexford for the 'Pathways to Clean Cooking' conference which took place in town over three days.
The idea behind the conference was to examine recent advances in cleaner cooking in order to drive Ireland's agenda on global health and climate change. The World Health Organisation estimates that 4.3 million people every year die prematurely from illnesses linked to household air pollution caused by the inefficient use of solid fuels. Exposure to household smoke from burning wood, charcoal, coal and kerosene is the top killer of children worldwide. It leads to diseases like childhood pneumonia, pulmonary disorders, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. Switching to cleaner cooking fuels or adopting advanced combustion cook stoves that burn biomass more cleanly and efficiently, can improve the health and livelihoods of the world's most vulnerable communities.
This year's conference was organised by Rosslare native Conor Fox, founder of Hestian - a company that promotes cleaner cooking technologies and practices in the developing world. Hestian has reached over half a million homes across Southern Africa with cleaner cooking stoves.
'It is important that we play a role and take responsibility in making cleaner cooking accessible to everybody,' he said. 'Open fires and inefficient stoves cause a range of harmful impacts and present a major health risk in developing countries. Cleaner technologies and practices can greatly help families meet their energy needs and benefit entire communities.'
Among the other speakers at the three day conference, which took place between the National Opera House and the Irish National Heritage Park, were Nobel Prize laureate Dr Omar Masera from Argentina, MacArthur Genius Dr Tami Bond and renowned inventor Dr Priya Karve from India. It was said to have been a fascinating event, culminating in a civic reception, overseen by Deputy Mayor of Wexford George Lawlor who was delighted to welcome the visitors to the town.