Reducing Energy Poverty [Infographic]
2.3 billion people around the world still lack access to reliable electricity or live off the grid completely. What’s more unfortunate is that over half of this population spend about $27 billion yearly on mobile phone charging and lighting with kerosene, candles, flashlights, or other fossil fuel-powered sources.
The Dangers of Using Kerosene as a Source of Light
Kerosene is the most common fossil fuel used for lighting in most countries where electrical distribution is either not available, or too costly for widespread use. Kerosene as fuel for lighting is inefficient, dangerous, and expensive as well. It also has some severe health and environmental drawbacks.
- Breathing kerosene fumes is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.
The light from kerosene lamps is dull and flickers, which force people to sit closer to the fire to prevent eye strain when reading after dark. However, this also increases exposure to noxious fumes and the risk of developing health problems.
Breathing in kerosene fumes is similar to smoking two packets of cigarettes a day. Spending more extended time with kerosene lamps can cause enough damage to impair lung function, lead to tuberculosis, asthma, or even lung cancer.
Very young children are particularly vulnerable to health problems caused by burning fuels indoors as they’re the ones who have to sit very close to the kerosene lamp to see well as they study at night.
- Structural fires and severe burns are common
Kerosene poses a danger since lamps are easily knocked over and are to become hazardous. The kerosene can become even more explosive if it’s accidentally mixed with other materials such as gasoline.
Fires can spread quickly in dry conditions and homes that are built with wood. Accidental fires had burnt down houses, schools, and establishments, caused severe burns, as well as resulting in fatalities 13 percent of the time.
- Kerosene fuel costs 40 times what the average American pays for energy.
Households without electricity consume much higher amounts of fuel than those with it, which means that they spend lots of their income on kerosene and less money on other important matters, making it a significant hindrance to the economic advancement of an individual as well as their community.
Households would often have to limit their use of kerosene so they cannot use kerosene as a light source whenever they need it.
The Link of Energy and Reducing Poverty
While most people understand the importance of energy, not everyone thinks about how it is related to every other critical sustainable challenge in the world from poverty reduction to education, health, employment, and a few others.
Studies from India set out to show any electrification ranging from solar lighting to microgrids has a positive impact on economic development so far.
- Increase Incomes
As kerosene lights are unreliable lights that can’t brighten up the room much, it can make even the simplest activities challenging. In contrast, off-grid light sources make work tasks a lot easier and safer too.
Access to reliable energy increased productive hours by helping people continue working even after the sun has set. Shops and businesses can open longer. In turn, this increased income for workers by 38%. The additional income helps many families out of poverty and have a better quality of life.
- Literacy Rates
Education is a fundamental necessity for human beings. It empowers people to create a future and offers a higher probability of success. For an individual, knowledge can help in their social interaction and development.
Literacy is the foundation of education. It is the prerequisite to acquire the necessary skills needed to cope with the challenges any individual would face throughout their lives. Individuals who fail to become literate would find themselves limit life chances and hinders on their participation in much of the world around them.
Besides the sparse school education, the reason for illiteracy is the lack of access to energy. The lack of electricity limits the quality and quantity of children’s education. Kerosene lamps and firewood can produce poor lighting, which doesn’t only affect motivation but create health problems such as eye and lung problems as well.
By having accessible in lighting with sustainable energy supply such as solar power enables children to study in the comfort of modern light, without parents having to worry about any repercussions in their children’s health. With a reliable light source, a community can increase its literacy rates by 74%.
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