Energy poverty is understood as having little or no access to electricity. Therefore, people experiencing energy poverty have to use other means to cook, light, heat, cool, etc. One way common way people have resorted to for cooking and lighting is kerosene lamps. Not only is kerosene incredibly expensive – many times costing 30% of a family’s income - it can also be deadly.
Recent studies show that kerosene lamps are much more harmful than initially believed. Research done shows the amount of black carbon released from kerosene lamps is greatly impacting the environment. One kerosene lamp releases one ton of carbon emissions over five years. This is the equivalent to driving about 3,000 miles in your car. Taking into consideration all of the kerosene lamps being used, 144 million tons of carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere each year. This sounds pretty bad, but kerosene lamps cause many more problems than just pollution in the atmosphere.
Many families burn cow dung in the kerosene lamps, this causes harmful emissions to be released in the air. Some known repercussions of this are eye infections, lower respiration infections, and lung cancer. Kerosene lamps are being used in such close quarters that it is impossible for people to escape the harm of them. Inhaling the kerosene lamp emissions is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. This is why a 65% of lung cancer victims have never smoked in their lives.
People faced with energy poverty are doing the best they can to survive. Most of them don’t have the education to understand the harms of kerosene lamps. That is why they need our help to escape energy poverty. These lamps can easily be replaced with solar powered LED lights that are much more cost effective and better for our environment.
To learn more about black carbon being released from kerosene lamps, click here.
To read more about those stricken by energy poverty and the effects of kerosene lamps, click here.
For cost effective light sources, click here.