Tajiks Switch On Energy-Saving Campaign

A campaign is under way to replace all normal light bulbs in Tajikistan with energy-saving ones by the end of this year.

Tajiks Switch On Energy-Saving Campaign

A campaign is under way to replace all normal light bulbs in Tajikistan with energy-saving ones by the end of this year.

Tuesday, 12 May, 2009
The switch to energy-saving bulbs might seem an expensive luxury for an impoverished country like Tajikistan, but the government sees it as vital to economising on electricity.



This mountainous state has copious amounts of water and several large hydroelectric power stations either in operation or nearing completion, but it still suffers from severe power outages, especially in the winter.



As Shahodat Saipnazarova reports, if domestic consumers changed their bulbs, the saving on power could amount to 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours a year – in other words a huge proportion of the estimated national annual shortage, put at 4.5 billion kilowatt-hours. And that is not including industry, commerce and the public sector.



The official plan is ambitious, envisaging a complete nationwide shift to energy-saving bulbs by the end of this year. Government departments are already changing over, and 240,000 low-income families are to be issued with the bulbs free of charge.



Other people will have to buy them themselves, and in a country where the average income is 75 US dollars a month, cost could be a deterrent. An energy-saving bulb sells for between four dollars for an inferior-quality one to ten dollars for a better one, compared with about 50 cents for a conventional lightbulb.



There could also be some environmental concerns if the entire country makes the switch. Energy-saving bulbs last longer, but contain a small amount of mercury which would need to be disposed of properly.



Environmental expert Alikhon Latifi says the authorities need to look at setting up special collection points and then processing the used bulbs safely. And this might have to be factored into the price of new bulbs.
Tajikistan
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