Sustainable utilization of woodfuel in selected sites of Mwala Sub-county, Machakos County, Kenya

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Biomass energy provides 68% of Kenya’s national energy requirements and it is expected to remain the mainsource of energy for the foreseeable future (Mugo, F. and Gathui, T. (2010). The traditional stoves whichhappen to be very popular with most households wastes a lot of fuel due to its low energy efficiency and thisleads to negative environmental impacts such as deforestation and pollution. This study focused onunderstanding the sustainable utilization of woodfuel in two (2) Sub-locations of Mwala Sub-county namely:Mwala and Kibauni. The primary objective of this study was to determine if woodfuel utilization by thehouseholds in the study areas is sustainable. The specific objective of the study was to establish the level ofadoption of the energy saving techniques in the selected sub-locations. This study used survey methodology andobservation to collect data. The total household sample size was 160. Data collection instrument wasquestionnaires. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics and the software wasStatistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.0. The study revealed low adoption of rationing ofwood with majority of the respondents 84% in Kibauni and 65% in Mwala not practicing it. There wassignificant relationship between rationing of woodfuel and the number of days taken to consume a bundle ofwood (df=1 and 158, F=462.898, p=0.00 ). The study also revealed low adoption of splitting of wood with 70%of respondents in Mwala and 88% in Kibauni not doing the splitting. There was significant relationship betweensplitting of wood and pollution challenges ( df=1 and 158, F=28.456, p=0.00 ). Low adoption of the practice ofputting off fire after use was also revealed with 66% of respondents in Mwala and 80% in Kibauni not practicingit. The study revealed a significant relationship between putting off fire after use and the number of days taken toconsume one bundle of wood (df=3 and 156, F=57.292, p=0.00.). It was also found out that there was nosignificant relationship between the type of stove and pollution challenges (df=1 and 158, F=0.072, p=0.789).The study recommended that aggressive campaign in dissemination of improved stoves and related technologyin order to reduce pressure on forests, the Government to have a structured management in production ofcharcoal and fuel wood by small scale farmers so as to have a source of income, promote capacity of fieldextension staff in the energy sector and establish an Energy Centres in the Sub-county to help disseminateknowledge and materials related to energy conservation.
Journal of Energy Technologies and Policy; Vol.7, No.1