In the Philippines, a campaign lead by philanthropist Illiac Diaz is turning plastic soda bottles into “solar lights” that bring light to the many poverty stricken inhabitants of the country’s slums.
Addressing a basic need
For many developing and underdeveloped countries, electricity supply is a problem: it’s not cheap, and it’s intermittent, affecting the poorest people severely. In the Philippines capital, Manila, three million households lacked electricity in 2009, and it isn’t an isolated case.
One of the fundamental functions of electricity is to provide light in peoples’ homes. To address this basic need, social entrepreneur Diaz in collaboration with MIT students developed a solar light bottle that is cheap to make and easy to install.
The solar light is made from a plain old plastic bottle, filled with chlorinated water to stop it turning green. The bottle is sealed and fixed into a corrugated roof where sunlight is absorbed and reflected into a room with the same power as a 55 watt bulb – for free.
Not only is the light source sustainable, and relieves pressure on the existing carbon-powered power plants, but recycling plastic bottles amounts to a very green practice that has social benefits too: Making and installing these solar lights have provided job opportunities and economic upliftment to locals who have turned the concept into micro-businesses.
To see this genius concept in action, click on the CCTV-9 video link: