Knowledge, attitudes and practices on use of briquettes as a source of fuel in Namugongo Division, Kira Municipality
Ogwana, Rachael Ikol
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Introduction. Briquettes are a source of cooking energy that are made from organic materials. In combination with an energy efficient stove, briquette use contributes to reduction of deforestation, helps to fight climate change and enables the end user to save money because of its longer burning time and the intense heat produced compared to charcoal. Production and use of briquettes reduces the amount of biomass waste that is discarded, reduction of methane released due to waste decomposition and reduction of improper waste disposal (crude dumping). Improper waste disposal is also coupled with other public health and environmental impacts such as blockage of drainage channels leading to flooding, outbreak of diarrheal diseases and nuisances like flies, smells and unsightliness. Objective; To assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices on the use and possible barriers and facilitators to scaling up the use of briquettes as a source of fuel for sustainable environment and other socio- economic benefits. Methodology; A cross sectional study employing both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods were used. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to obtain quantitative data from the participants. In addition, key informants interview (KII) guides and in-depth interview (II) guides were used to obtain qualitative data from briquette producing plant and briquettes users respectively. A total of 384 respondents were recruited and interviewed, 2 KII and 14 In-depth interviews were conducted. Univariate analysis was done to analyse quantitative data while qualitative data was manually analysed using thematic analysis. Results; Majority of the respondents were between 30-39 years of age 65.4% (274/384), over three quarters were married 76.6% (229/384) and over a half were casually employed 59.4% (229/384). Charcoal was the most popular source of cooking fuel used by the respondents 90.6% (348/384) and production of soot was the major problem associated with use of charcoal 63.3% (243/384). Majority of the respondents did not know about briquettes 89.3% (343/384). Only 10.7% (41/384) knew about briquettes and all reported using them for cooking. Most of the briquette users 65.9% (27/41) knew about briquettes from a friend. Both briquette users and briquette non-users were willing to use briquettes 68.5% (263/384). The majority of the respondents chose to use briquettes because they produced intense heat 89.1% (256/384), whereas not being readily available ranked highest 61.7% (237/384) as the reasons for not choosing briquettes as a source of fuel and reduce on the rate of deforestation. The most looked out attribute on briquettes was quality 100% (41/41) by the briquette users. Cost and availability ranked highest respectively on what affected use of briquettes as a source of fuel. Conclusion; The study found out that majority of the community members do not know about briquettes. However, majority of the respondents both briquette users and briquettes non-users were willing to use briquettes as a source of cooking fuel. This therefore, calls upon KMC and the briquette producers to join hands and sensitize the community on how to make briquettes locally in order to reduce on the amount of waste requiring disposal as well as eliminate incidences of crude dumping of majorly organic waste as well as help reduce on the rate of deforestation.