Energy for Low-income Settlements
The bulk of the population in developing countries is poor and survives on non-commercial energy sources such as fuelwood, agricultural residues or animal dung which are the most easily available and can be gathered at almost zero private cost. However, the exploitation of forests and natural fertilizers for energy needs leads to environmental degradation and consequent undesirable effects such as deforestation, soil erosion and desertification; in the case of excessive fuelwood removal, loss of nutrients and valuable fodder; in the case of burning of dung and agricultural residues, even damage to health.
Rural poverty, aggravated by fuel shortages is driving villagers in numerous developing countries to shift to foods that require less fuel for cooking, although they are of low nutritional value, or even to miss some meals altogether and so go hungry. The shortages are also driving people in some areas to shift to food which can be eaten raw but is less nutritious, or to eat partially cooked food which could be toxic.