It’s a small move that will go a long way in addressing the growing concern over safe disposal of energy efficient CFL bulbs, which contain mercury.
Though CFL bulbs help in bringing down the ever-rising energy demand in the city, with no system in place for its organized disposal, environmental experts have expressed concern over health hazard caused by exposure to broken or damaged CFL bulbs.
In a move to help in safe disposal of CFLs, private power distribution company (distcom) BSES, supplying power to central, east, south and west Delhi, is launching a scheme where any consumer living in BSES areas will be given Rs 8 for every damaged CFL bulb he/she returns to the distcom.
BSES has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Pune-based company, which will set up 132 kiosks in areas catered to by the distcom where the damaged CFL bulbs will be collected. “The collected bulbs would then be carried by the company to a special facility in Pune where fused CFLs will be disposed off and the mercury present inside the bulbs safely recovered,” said a BSES official.
The kiosks will be located at BSES customer care centres, cash collection centres and its main offices. This is not all. To promote the use of CFLs, the distcom will also give away CFL bulbs at discounted price to consumers in its area. “We will give a 45 per cent discount to those buying CFLs,” added the official.
As per the figures released by NGO Greenpeace, at present, approximately 12.5 crore CFL bulbs are being used in Delhi. The mercury content in these lamps is about 500 kg.
According to rough estimates made by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), there is a market for about 400 million CFLs in the country. Though this will help cut down 24 million tones of carbon dioxide, it will also contribute hugely to the growing mercury load.