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Lights On: Simple Innovation Helps Philippines Neighborhood

Isang Litrong Liwanag is an organization bringing light to homes in the Philippines. Isang Litrong Liwanag is an organization bringing light to homes in the Philippines.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then it stands to reason that having a great need would lead to one Mother of an invention. Nowhere is this more true than in the very low income neighborhood of Sitto Malagaya in the city of San Pedro, Philippines, where an organization called A Liter of Light (Isang Litrong Liwanag) has introduced a simple yet infinitely useful invention: the solar soda bottle light.

Located just south of Manila, San Pedro is a poor city by global standards, and one of its most poverty-stricken areas is a neighborhood called Sitto Malagaya. Here, windowless homes are made of cheap corrugated metal and situated so closely together that, even in the heat of a 100-plus degree day, the inside of their buildings were pitch black. This severe lack of light led to depression for those without any electricity and massive power bills for those forced to turn their lights on during the day.

Enter A Liter of Light, an organization that took a simple, inexpensive, yet ingenious idea and introduced it to the poor community, lighting-up homes and creating green jobs in the process.

Simple ideas like this may end up being the secret to combating global issues like pollution and climate change, as well as assisting the less fortunate.

A local man, affectionately dubbed "Solar Demi" by those he has helped, has been hired to install solar soda bottle lights, a ridiculously simple idea that employs a similar design to your typical household skylight, but with a green twist. Used soda bottles are filled with filtered water and bleach (to inhibit algae growth) and then installed into the roof using simple tools and sealant. This allows magnified light to come through, completely lighting up formerly dark rooms, absolutely free.

What is especially amazing about these soda bottle lights is how bright they are - one light is the equivalent of a 55 watt bulb, more than enough to illuminate a small room. Not only have the new lights (installed in just under a thousand homes so far) saved precious money for needy San Pedro residents, they have also created a green purpose for thousands of plastic bottles that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.

Simple ideas like this may end up being the secret to combating global issues like pollution and climate change, as well as assisting the less fortunate. These solar soda bottle lights certainly have made the lives of Sitta Malagaya's residents a lot brighter. A Liter of Light plans to continue the process in 100 million Philippine homes by next year, and then do the same in other developing nations across the globe. Let's hope that this is just the beginning of a long line of simple, green innovations that brighten up our planet. A little ingenuity and some good, old-fashioned hard work, can put an end to some big problems.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 18:41

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