Going green, with a large side order of mercury

Reference: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article2910689.ece?homepage=true
February 20, 2012 | G. Ananthakrishnan | anant@thehindu.co.in

Despite the growing popularity of energy-saving fluorescent lamps, little has been done to address the issue of the safe disposal of the dangerous waste they generate.

Steady release of mercury into the air, soil and water poses a significant health risk. But, it appears, not for policymakers in India. Annually, a large amount of this toxic, complex metal is simply dumped into municipal landfills or released into the air from a “green” source — the millions of fluorescent lamps that are at the forefront of efforts to reduce power demand and carbon emissions.

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Yearly, India’s domestic production of fluorescent tube lights (FTL) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) involves the use of about eight tonnes of mercury, and imported CFLs, another three tonnes. The Ministry of Environment and Forests … Read More