Kerosene is not a clean energy source, but it is commonly used as a substitute for coal and wood. While it may seem more effective than a wood-burning stove, there are many dangers to using kerosene. The risks are both immediate and long-term, affecting the health, safety, and financial well-being of families.
Burns are the fourth cause of injury in the world. Many of these injuries occur in areas where people lack access to safe energy sources. In Sierra Leone, people use kerosene lanterns and candles as their light source. Unfortunately, kerosene is a highly-flammable liquid that can easily spill, causing burns like the one Sorie suffered.
Long-Term Health Consequences
Kerosene releases dangerous black smoke, and most homes where it is used are not well-ventilated. This exposure will cause respiratory illnesses and possible long-term damage.
Additionally, children who study by kerosene lamps after dark suffer from eye strain, which damages eyesight. Children who do not study after dark, however, are unlikely to succeed academically.
In an impoverished energy country, kerosene is extraordinarily expensive. It costs roughly 15% of a family’s income. The price of kerosene decreases financial stability for hardworking people trying to support their families.
Energy poverty has an impact on over 1.3 billion people across the globe. Without access to safe, reliable electricity, the populace is hindered in ways people in the developed world cannot understand. Lack of power means communities:
- Have no streetlights
- Require extra time to find fuel
- Have dangerous fuel sources
- Have high fuel costs
- Suffer health risks
Fortunately, there is a way to combat energy poverty.