Granny shows the way: Results from implementing an alternative fire-lighting method in Orange Farm

  • M Wentzel University of Pretoria
Keywords: Orange Farm, Basa Njengo Magogo fire lighting method, air pollution, coal, firewood


High levels of air pollution caused by domestic coal burning create human health problems and unwarranted economic loss. The associated health cost is estimated at R1.2 billion per annum. The Basa Njengo Magogo (BNM) alternative fire lighting method represents the highest impact on health from a benefit-cost and employment point of view since the method can potentially reduce ambient air pollution caused by the use of household coal in a relatively short period, by approximately 40-50%. In a pilot study funded by the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME), the method was demonstrated to 16 000 households through a series of direct demonstrations in Orange Farm. The study found that 99% of households who attended a demonstration used the BNM method and continued to use it after a month, households saved on average 25 kilograms of coal, translating in a R26 saving per month. A wide scale implementation of the BNM method holds the potential not only to reduce air pollution but also to result in coal and monetary savings for low-income households.


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