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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

CFL turns ‘toxic’ so govt thinks of LED lamps to replace it

Atul Mathur, Hindustan Times  New Delhi , January 15, 2011
First Published: 00:07 IST(15/1/2011) | Last Updated: 00:10 IST(15/1/2011)

After an unsuccessful tryst with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), which leaves behind mercury deposits, the Delhi government is now working on a plan to bring in light emitting diode (LED) lamps.

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Senior Delhi government official said the LED lamps are not only more energy-efficient,  they are environment-friendly and fit to replace electricity-guzzling bulbs and tubelights.

“We are working on a report, which is likely to be tabled within a fortnight. On the basis of the report we will be able to plan our future course of action.” Delhi chief secretary Rakesh Mehta said. He said they are working on a proposal to replace CFL from residential and commercial premises as well as streetlights.

Although the CFLs brought down electricity bills drastically, experts believe it is one of the most toxic devices in any household.

Its high mercury content adds to huge accumulation of toxic elements and makes underground water poisonous.

According to experts, a typical CFL tube contains 3-5mg mercury. It mercury contents rises by 300%, once the CFL is damaged and the mercury comes in contact with air.

The government’s efforts to procure special mechanism from abroad to dispose  of CFLs safely have also proved futile.

While LED is certainly a more environment-friendly option, the biggest concern, said experts, is its high cost.

An LED lamp cuts down electricity consumption by almost 50%, but it is at least 10 times costlier than an ordinary bulb. The good news is, it has a life of about 20 years.

“We have had a few discussions with LED lamps manufacturers in Gujarat, Karnataka and West Bengal on how to bring down its cost and make it more affordable for common man,” Mehta said.

Senior government officials said they will adopt the same mechanism to promote LED lamps that were used to promote CFLs.

“We are also deliberating with power discoms to sell LEDs. They have the required infrastructure to promote CFL to both residential and commercial users,” Mehta said.

As the use of LED will nearly halve the electricity bills, officials said they will work out a plan to ensure that the consumers do not have to pay anything from their pockets to buy LED lamps.

“The government may also invest some money to fund the project. We will also take help of financial institutions,” said a Delhi government official.


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