South Africans have until April 30 to comment on the recently gazetted specifications for general service lamps.
The specifications are aimed at improving the safety, performance and energy efficiency of lightbulbs approved for use in South Africa by phasing out inefficient and environmentally harmful lighting products, the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) said on April 14.
If passed, lighting products that do not meet the specifications will be removed from the market. SANEDI believes the gazetted regulations, if passed, will be a milestone in the journey towards a more environmentally sustainable country.
“For example, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) currently on the market would not meet the specifications. Although CFLs are known as energy saving lamps, they contain mercury.
"It is more likely that light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will become the preferred choice of lamp,” said SANEDI Appliance Standards and Labelling Programme project manager Ashanti Mogosetsi.
“South Africa currently widely uses old and outdated lighting technology, which is known to be far less energy efficient than modern lighting products such as LEDs. Further, certain old lamps also contain elements that cause environmental degradation when discarded. Mercury is extremely harmful to the environment and, in turn, harms the health of people living in those environments,” she explained.
However, if CFLs make a technological advancement and meet these specifications in the future, then they could be legally sold. The purpose of the specifications is not to ban any particular lighting products, but to mandate their safety and performance standards, she added.