Isang Litrong Liwanag: Let There Be Light
() - June 12, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and the City of Manila, in cooperation with MyShelter Foundation, Inc., joined forces again to bring a special kind of light to residents of Happyland, Tondo, Manila through the “Solar Liwanag Iyong Mahalin” (SLIM), a unique but very practical solar bottle bulb project.

Using common household materials and readily available chemicals, the solar bottle bulb project – also called “Isang Litrong Liwanag” or a liter of light – is a groundbreaking campaign of MyShelter Foundation that aims to provide economically and ecologically sustainable sources of light for households.

The solar bottle bulb is made of a small sheet of galvanized iron and a 1.5- or 2-liter plastic bottle – usually a soft drink bottle – filled with a solution of water, salt and chlorine that can gather and amplify sunlight. When installed on roofs, the bottle filled with the water solution acts as the lens and provides tremendous amount of interior light, which is equivalent to 55 watts during daytime, without using electricity.

According to MyShelter Foundation, a solar bottle bulb can last up to five years before growing dim, in which case, the water solution will simply be replaced.

Meralco donated the solar bottle bulbs, through the City of Manila, to residents of Happyland, Tondo. Meralco also donated the needed tools and materials in addition to providing the training for personnel who will do the installation.

This solar bottle bulb installation project is the second formalized partnership between Meralco and the City Government of Manila. The Baseco Compound project, in Port Area, was the first pilot area. The SLIM project was also implemented in Islang Puting Bato and Parola I.

This application of the solar bottle bulb technology is very appropriate for communities like Happyland, Tondo.

Barangay 105 SK chairman Fe Marie Conde, Manila councilor Niño dela Cruz, Mayor Alfredo Lim, Meralco senior assistant vice president and central business area head Ferdinand Geluz, MyShelter Foundation executive director Illac Diaz and Barangay 105 chairman Luisito Reyes bring light to the Happyland community.

The materials used in making solar bottle bulbs are very affordable and are readily available. The eco-friendly implements can be easily installed using common household tools like wire cutters and hammers. Given the proper equipment and training, the installation of the solar bottle bulb is easy and the homeowners themselves can assemble and install the bottles.

The solar bottle bulb is also very practical as it offers homeowners an alternative source of light during daytime, affording them greater savings on their electricity bills. For households in depressed areas, such savings on lighting can mean additional money that the family can allocate for other needs.

The use of solar bottle bulbs in the Happyland area may also significantly contribute to ensuring the safety of the residents. Most of the houses in the area are usually made of light materials and are closely built that residents need to light up their homes even during daytime due to the lack of natural lighting.

Most residents use candles and kerosene lamps while others turn to illegal connections to obtain lighting for their homes. Neglected candles and electrical overloading are the usual causes of fire in such communities. Meralco believes that the use of solar bottle bulbs will further prevent the occurrence of such accidents, especially in these densely populated areas.

Diaz steps into the light of a solar bottle bulb.

The Happyland community, just like the Baseco Compound, was specifically chosen as a project site by Mayor Lim and residents were reportedly grateful for the benefits that the project will bring. Meralco also said that this partnership will be greatly beneficial to the residents since this is seen to further reduce and eventually curb the illegal use of electricity and ultimately minimize the risk of fires in the area.

Meralco has been a known advocate of environmental programs including the promotion and use of recyclable and eco-friendly materials. The “Isang Litrong Liwanag Project” is certainly one way of showing Meralco’s and the City of Manila’s support and commitment to the environment.

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