Fake briquettes are made from soil whereas the genuine one is made from cassava peelings, waste starch and organic matter.
Solid fuel dealers under their umbrella association,Uganda National Alliance on Clean Cooking (UNACC) have decried the presence of counterfeit briquettes being sold saying the existing markets have been distorted.
They called for the government’s intervention in fighting the vice. Solid fuels include wood, charcoal and briquettes among others.
“The challenge is big because in terms of enforcement. People just put fake or counterfeit technologies on the markets,” said John Tumuhimbise, the chairman UNACC.
He said fake briquettes are made from soil whereas the genuine one is made from cassava peelings, waste starch and organic matter.
During the association stakeholders meeting at Hotel Africana, Tumuhimbise explained that the presence of counterfeit solid fuels has in most cases discouraged people who have bought the genuine technology.
“In addition to market distortion, fake fuel products emit a lot of gases and some of them are unhealthy to the population. That’s why we are talking about indoor pollution which is becoming a big problem. These products also have safety aspects they impact on the users,” he explained.
Tumuhimbise, who is also a commissioner for renewables at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, noted that indoor pollution is a big challenge in Uganda and other Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
“Research has shown that Uganda registers over 130,000 deaths annually due to indoor air pollution. Therefore, as you might realise, this is a big killer; it kills more than malaria does or even TB,” he explained, advising people to embrace use of clean energy.
Tumuhimbise. Photos by Shamim Saad
Alfred Kusiima, the national coordinator for UNACC said the body is liaising with UNBS, Ministry of energy and Police to eliminate fake products on the market. He said the perpetuators shall be nabbed and held responsible.
On deaths, Kusiima said there should be more sensitisation on usage of clean energy such as electricity, gas and energy saving stoves to mitigate health ramifications of unclean energy.
“If we create awareness on dangers of using traditional cooking methods, we can reduce these numbers of deaths but it takes each one of us,” he stated.
Harry Oryema, the managing director for Greater Light Energy and Sustainable Systems, a solid fuel making firm the association should enforce technical committee to fight against counterfeit products on the market.
“Fake things come in either intentionally or due to negligence but the offenders must be held accountable,” he said.