Special Issue on Carbonaceous Aerosols in the Atmosphere (III)

Kopal Verma, Umesh Chandra Kulshrestha This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India

Received: January 14, 2024
Revised: April 9, 2024
Accepted: April 25, 2024

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.240013  

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Cite this article:

Verma, K., Kulshrestha, U.C. (2024). Mitigation of Carbonaceous Indoor Aerosols through Behavioural Change Soft Approach in Cooking at Selected Rural Sites (India). Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 24, 240013. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.240013


  • Soft approaches are the minimal adjustments to existing practices to enhance sustainability.
  • Implementing soft approaches significant reductions in OC and EC is possible.
  • Women in households acknowledged the advantages of cleaner fuels and soft approaches.


Indoor air pollution particularly from biomass burning, presents a significant challenge in rural India. Despite awareness of cleaner energy sources, rural communities encounter financial and logistical barriers hindering their transition to cleaner energy. The combustion of biomass emits substantial amounts of carbonaceous aerosols (CA), including organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC), which severely impact health and contribute to climate change. This study is aimed at applying certain behavioural changes in cooking practices, termed here as 'Soft Approaches,' to mitigate indoor air pollution. Soft approaches involve minor adjustments in daily practices to promote sustainability. Conducted over a year at three sites in Punjab (Phullanwal) and Madhya Pradesh (Budhwada and Khedla), the study assessed CA concentrations in rural household kitchens. Outdoor CA concentrations were also measured in order to examine the indoor and outdoor differences in CA levels. Mostly, OC and EC concentrations peaked during the winter season, with outdoor levels consistently lower than indoor ones. The implementation of soft approaches such as using table fans for smoke dispersion, employing dried biomass, enhancing ventilation, utilizing biomass in pellet form resulted in reductions of up to 87.1% and 83.6% in indoor OC and EC concentrations, respectively. Questionnaire analysis indicated that the community recognized the benefits of cleaner fuels and soft approaches, despite challenges related to availability and economic feasibility. The adoption of soft approaches offers broader benefits by enhancing adaptive capabilities, fostering resilience to environmental challenges for individuals and the nation as a whole.

Keywords: Carbonaceous aerosol, Biomass burning, Soft approaches

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