Environmentalists: Dispose Fluorescent Lamps Properly

Manila Bulletin, October 8, 2012 | Go to article overview

Environmentalists: Dispose Fluorescent Lamps Properly


MANILA, Philippines - A Quezon City-based environmental network promoting zero waste and chemical safety on Monday urged the public to properly dispose energy-efficient but mercury-containing compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

The EcoWaste Coalition aired the appeal as some 3.6 million CFLs were distributed through congressional and party list representatives several days ago under the National Residential Lighting Program of the Philippine Energy Efficiency Project by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The DOE said the distribution of CFLs will translate to 44,702 tons of carbon dioxide emission reduction, which is equivalent to 83 MWh energy savings or P828 million monetary savings.

Under the program, 10,000 CFLs will be distributed free of charge to 5,000 households per congressional district or party list household beneficiaries. Two 14-watt CFLs will be given per household.

Each 14-watt CFL contains 1.5 mg of mercury, a toxic substance that is often released due to product breakage or through recycling in uncontrolled conditions.

"While recognizing the climate benefits of CFLs, we urge users to strictly follow safety precautions, from lamp installation to disposal, to avoid breakage and exposure to mercury," Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition's Project Protect, said.

"Products and wastes containing mercury such as busted fluorescent lamps should be carefully handled and not mixed with regular household discards nor dumped or burned," Dizon added.

Other sources of mercury in municipal solid waste include discarded thermometers, dental amalgams, laboratory chemicals, measuring devices, skin whitening cosmetics and electronics or e-waste.

Dizon said that Republic Act 6969 or Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Act, considers lamp waste as hazardous and thus requiring safe management and disposal, while RA 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, classifies lamp waste as special waste that should not be combined with recyclable waste. …

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