by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Kerosene lamps are one of the most used sources of light in most rural areas in Papua New Guinea.
Over the years, their use has changed and today, a majority of the population now use battery lamps, fuel generators and solar lighting as sources of light and power. Due to these being the cheapest source, the kerosene lamp is slowly fading out.
According to SolarAid CEO Andrew Webb, kerosene lamps pollute the air inside homes, resulting in health problems such as lung and eye diseases. They do not only produce dim light, which is inadequate for study and work, but often result in open flames, which is far more dangerous than current alternatives.
While these factors pose risks, a minority of Papua New Guineans continue to use it. Many others, however, have adapted to using battery-charged lamps, torches, fuel generators and solar lights as sources of light.
Despite providing the same service, the kerosene lamp phase is now nearing its end and may disappear in the coming years. With fast-growing technology, the rural-based population is also growing and changing, while at the same time, adapting to change. One such change is the use of power fuel generators and solar lights.
Solar lighting is now becoming famous in rural areas, with a notable increase in outlets selling solar panels. The demand is increasing as more people begin to see its benefits. Like Papua New Guinea, many other countries are also moving from kerosene lamps to solar lights.
When comparing kerosene lamps with solar lights, this is what Victoria Materua, a mother in Tanzania, had to say: “I don’t have any worries with the risk of the kerosene to spill and burn the house, because solar is easy to use and the children can put it on without me around.”