You wouldn't think that kerosene lamps carried by 85,000 canoe fishermen in Sri Lanka would cause much of an environmental problem. Prawn fishermen in the mangrove swamps use the lamps to attract the prawns. But leaking kerosene can pollute the water and spawning grounds. And the lamps emit surprisingly large amounts of CO2. Sri Lankan canoe fishermen burn roughly 100,000 liters of kerosene every night or 30 million liters per year, corresponding to 75,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.
The environmental foundation Global Nature Fund has now launched a project called "Improving livelihoods of fishermen in Sri Lanka by introducing LED and compact fluorescent lamps for night fishing." Supported by the LED Light for you (LLFY) partners OSRAM and Infineon, the German firm Diana Electronic Systeme GmbH has developed a water-tight, low-cost alternative to replace the fishermen's kerosene lamps.
The Global Nature Fund is distributing 100 of these LED lamps to the fishermen in a first phase. Virtually all kerosene lamps are to be replaced in the long term.
The LLFY network provides guidance in a highly fragmented LED market, supports potential users of LED technology and helps to find partners who have been certified according to stringent quality criteria to implement the LED lighting projects. The lamp made by Diana Electronic uses standard LED drivers from Infineon and amber-colored OSRAM LEDs of type Golden Dragon.
Catches are not expected to suffer, as the light of the amber-coloured OSRAM LEDs of type Golden Dragon is very similar to that of the kerosene lamps.
This isn't the first such environmental effort. OSRAM and the Global Nature Fund supplied fishermen on Lake Victoria in East Africa with energy-saving products in 2008.