Guidelines for safe disposal of CFLs not yet framed

July 31, 2012

The government is yet to frame any guidelines for safe disposal and recycling of Compact Fluorescent Lamps which contain environmentally hazardous mercury though millions of CFLs have been marketed, said concerned officials.
Experts said that each CFL contains at least 5 milligrams of mercury, a toxic heavy metal that can interfere with the development of children and unborn foetuses and may cause a wide range of health problems in adults, including brain, kidney and liver damage.
They said that people do not know about the possible
hazards of disposing of CFLs in open space and the government has also taken no initiative in this regard, although the lamps have been used in the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors for 5-7 years.
Mahmudur Rahman, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, told New Age, ‘When mercury comes in contact with living bodies it can harm different human organs including the kidney and liver with long-term adverse effects. It may even cause cancer.’
Experts and businessmen of the sector said that CFL has been popularly used in the country since 2005-06.
In addition, the government has already replaced 10.5 million units of incandescent lights by CFLs and another 17.5 million units will be replaced free of cost across the country in a bid to popularise energy saving products.
Power Cell, the government’s policy and monitoring wing for the power sector, is implementing the CFL distribution programme named Efficient Lighting Initiative Bangladesh.
The programme is being funded by the World Bank.
Power Cell director General Mahboob Sarwar-E-Kainat, however, said that the government had taken up a programme to frame guidelines for environmentally safe disposal and recycling of CFLs.
‘We will soon appoint a consultant in this regard,’ he said.
Md Lutful Kabir, a professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, said that the issue, environmentally safe disposal of CFLs, should have been addressed by the government much earlier with proper guidelines and awareness building programmes.
He said that level of pollution varies with the quantity of CFLs to be disposed of at a time in a particular area without any safety measures.
The government’s Sustainable Energy for Development programme’s senior adviser Siddique Zobair, however, said that tube lights also contain the mercury which is used in CFLs.
‘We need general guidelines for safe disposal of lights containing mercury,’ he added.

Courtesy of New Age

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