From the 1st of August 2021, the Children’s Environmental Health Foundation (CEHF) in collaboration with Clean Lighting Coalition (CLiC) has been conducting market data research into lighting technologies to critically gather information on prices and brands/models of fluorescent and LED light bulbs being sold in Zambia.
The work of market data collection is aimed at aiding to contribute to the development of evidence for the Governmental decision at the upcoming Minamata convention’s conference of Parties (COP4) in November this year. The survey is meant to assess the various light bulb products being displayed in various markets, supermarkets, retailers, and wholesalers.
It is worth noting people access and utilizes toxic light products every day. It is further worth noting that there are specific types of light bulbs that are present in homes, offices, schools, and community buildings, which contain mercury.
Mercury is a chemical and neurotoxin, and can be released when a fluorescent bulb breaks, and through the manufacturing and disposal processes. According to CLiC, Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic to humans and threaten environmental and ecosystem health.
The Clean Lighting Coalition aims to leverage expert knowledge and clean lighting stakeholders to transition global markets to safe, cost-effective, and energy-saving LED lighting by removing the exemption for fluorescents in the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
During the survey in Lusaka on 19th August 2021, the Lusaka City Council Senior Health Inspector Luckson Banda who accompanied the CEHF research team commended the move by CEHF stating that mercury-containing products had neurological impacts on infants, small children and pregnant women inhaling especially when the bulbs broke.
Mr Banda stated that it would be cardinal for stakeholders especially the Local councils to ensure that most retailers, supermarkets, and wholesalers, monitor what kind of lightbulbs are on display as LED light bulbs should be prioritized.
“The labelling, product branding, and pricing should be fair, ecofriendly, and must be used for a long period of time to create sustainability in human health and the environment,” Mr Banda stated.
Mr Musenga the CHEF chairman general stated that the time to act and protect human health and the environment was now.
He said that CEHF was working in collaboration with CLiC to accelerate the global transition to clean affordable super-efficient LED lighting and phasing out the use of toxic, and mercury-based lighting.
‘We are grateful for the support from Local Authorities as this is the only way we can achieve our goals by working collaboratively,” he said.
The United Nation’s Minamata Convention on mercury is working to limit and eventually phase out mercury use in a number of products and processes. Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic to humans particularly to developing children, pregnant women and are a significant threat to the environment and to ecosystem health.
CEHF is advocating for a phasing out of Dental Amalgam and the making of Mercury use in dentistry a History in Zambia.