Friday, April 3, 2009

Trash cooker helps poor and protects environment

Kenyan slum dwellers use the community cooker in the Laini Saba village of Kibera slum, one of the largest in Africa, in Nairobi March 10, 2009. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna

By Barry Moody

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's huge and squalid slums don't have much of anything, except mountains of trash that fill rivers and muddy streets, breeding disease.

Now Kenyan designers have built a cooker that uses the trash as fuel to feed the poor, provide hot water and destroy toxic waste, as well as curbing the destruction of woodlands.

After nine years of development, the prototype "Community Cooker" is close to being rolled out in overcrowded refugee camps as well as slums around the country where the filth encourages diseases including cholera.

Invented by Nairobi architect Jim Archer, the cooker combines simplicity with the capacity to confront several environmental challenges simultaneously. The design was highly commended at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona last year.

The prototype is working in Nairobi's Kibera slum, said to be the biggest in Africa, where around 800,000 people live.

Potatoes, rice and tea cook on some of the eight hotplates above a roaring, spitting furnace. A joint of meat roasts in an oven that can also be used for bread. …

Slum cooker protects environment, helps poor

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