Lake Victoria fishermen dump kerosene for solar light

For many years under the darkness of the night sky, thousands of small-scale fishermen set sail off various beaches of Lake Victoria, lit various types of kerosene lamps and waited for fish to come to their cast nets.
Drawn by the light, hundreds of sardine-like fish popularly known as Omena leap out of the water and into the nets which are then hauled into the fishermen’s canoes.
Although this traditional fishing method continues, safety and cost concerns have seen a shift in the type of lamps used by the fishermen.
Most fishermen have now dumped once popular kerosene lamps for safer and more financially sustainable solar lamps.
Using kerosene for lighting is deemed extremely inefficient, dangerous and expensive, and it has extensive health and environmental drawbacks.
The World Bank estimates that breathing kerosene fumes is the equivalent of smoking two packets of cigarettes a day and two-thirds of adult females with lung cancer in developing nations are non-smokers.
“I cannot forget my worst encounter with the use of pressure lamp three years ago when one of my workers got serious burns after the lamp exploded as he was trying to light it,” says Hellen Omondi, a boat owner in Usenge, Siaya.
With depleting fish stocks in the lake, fishing expeditions now last longer — almost overnight. This means a higher expenditure for those using kerosene-powered lamps.