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Energy Wastage – Evidence Along Our Streets

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The burning of street lamps in broad daylight has become a ubiquitous phenomenon and one that requires serious questioning in these times of dire need for energy conservation. Lamps as such, with their apparent illumination dulled by the sunlight, have been noted down multiple streets in Kotahena, Narahenpita and elsewhere in Colombo.

Such lights in their switched-on states have been observed down Kirula Road in Colombo 5, Kotahena Street and GunanandaMawatha in Colombo 13 and in the roads of the Colombo 10area during the mid-morning, afternoon and early evening hours.

Unnecessary usage of public facilities in such a way has been noted over the past few months. Hence regarding this matter, a Right to Information (RTI) application was sent to the Colombo Municipal Council in order to find out how the use of street lights in the city, and specifically in Kotahena, is regulated on a daily basis.

The municipal council supplied information that there is an individual in charge of switching on and switching off the street lights in Kotahena each evening and morning. The daily time period assigned for turning these lamps on is 5.30 pm – 7 pm. Subsequently the next morning, the task of switching them off is supposed to be undertaken from 5.30 am – 7 am.

It is also worth mentioning that, as per the CMC, some of these street lamps are automatic lamps that turn on and off on their own. According to the Asian Development Bank’s July 2012 Technical Assistance Consultant’s Report, most street lights in Sri Lanka are controlled individually via either daylight sensors or manually controlled switches. The report also mentions that both these methods can be unreliable for different reasons as follows:

“Photo sensors require cleaning and tuning from time to time to keeping them operated correctly. However, due to the lack of their maintenance and end of their life there are a high number of street lamps are kept on longer than necessary or left on or off continuously. Manually controlled lights operated by either local government staff or volunteers are commonly turned on early and turned off later than necessary.” [Source: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/project-document/75419/39419-013-sri-tacr.pdf]

Whether or not there has been much change in the public outdoor lighting system in the past few years, it should be noted that it is only in more recent months that some lights along the city’s roads seem to be kept on all day long every day.

This is certainly a matter of concern as cessation of the unnecessary use of electricity is imperativein addressing the larger problem of natural resource overuse and its consequent environmental impacts.

The burning of street lamps in broad daylight has become a ubiquitous phenomenon and one that requires serious questioning in these times of dire need for energy conservation. Lamps as such, with their apparent illumination dulled by the sunlight, have been noted down multiple streets in Kotahena, Narahenpita and elsewhere in Colombo.

Such lights in their switched-on states have been observed down Kirula Road in Colombo 5, Kotahena Street and GunanandaMawatha in Colombo 13 and in the roads of the Colombo 10area during the mid-morning, afternoon and early evening hours.

Unnecessary usage of public facilities in such a way has been noted over the past few months. Hence regarding this matter, a Right to Information (RTI) application was sent to the Colombo Municipal Council in order to find out how the use of street lights in the city, and specifically in Kotahena, is regulated on a daily basis.

The municipal council supplied information that there is an individual in charge of switching on and switching off the street lights in Kotahena each evening and morning. The daily time period assigned for turning these lamps on is 5.30 pm – 7 pm. Subsequently the next morning, the task of switching them off is supposed to be undertaken from 5.30 am – 7 am.

It is also worth mentioning that, as per the CMC, some of these street lamps are automatic lamps that turn on and off on their own. According to the Asian Development Bank’s July 2012 Technical Assistance Consultant’s Report, most street lights in Sri Lanka are controlled individually via either daylight sensors or manually controlled switches. The report also mentions that both these methods can be unreliable for different reasons as follows:

“Photo sensors require cleaning and tuning from time to time to keeping them operated correctly. However, due to the lack of their maintenance and end of their life there are a high number of street lamps are kept on longer than necessary or left on or off continuously. Manually controlled lights operated by either local government staff or volunteers are commonly turned on early and turned off later than necessary.” [Source: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/project-document/75419/39419-013-sri-tacr.pdf]

Whether or not there has been much change in the public outdoor lighting system in the past few years, it should be noted that it is only in more recent months that some lights along the city’s roads seem to be kept on all day long every day.

This is certainly a matter of concern as cessation of the unnecessary use of electricity is imperativein addressing the larger problem of natural resource overuse and its consequent environmental impacts.

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