Slum-ming with light

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Did you know you can generate light with a Pepsi bottle? Well, it’s no joke but in fact, a noble initiative being carried out by a philanthropist Illac Diaz through his NGO, MyShelter Foundation. The video on YouTube has garnered much appreciation and it’s barely two weeks old!

Registering over seven lakh views already, and with over 11,000 users ‘liking’ this viral, it’s about how a man lights up several homes in a village by using three readily available components— a plastic bottle, bleach/baking soda and water. The water and bleach/soda are mixed and poured into a clear plastic bottle. A hole is made in the roof of a hut; the bottle is inserted and stuck with sealant. It’s almost magical to see how bright light illuminates the homes of the poor who have little option than living in complete darkness.
Started by a bunch of students of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, the idea is to illuminate as many slums as possible. Many youngsters feel this is a brilliant initiative and can help millions of slum dwellers in India. Surabhi HR, who works for urban slum development says, “It is an ingenious idea! Very viable and can be applied to Indian slums and villages too. We also need to consider that residents of Indian slums are apprehensive of new ideas, unless a trusted NGO markets it. Sometimes, you may even come across people who will misuse the products. They could steal bottles at night, or even harm someone with the bleach too! The idea needs to be regulated by a strong body.” Rahul Kayala, CEO of NGO Parinamika agrees, “This is such a fabulous idea and so easy to implement too. However, we need to remember this is a stop-gap measure which should not become the only solution. What slum dwellers need is a strong Govt policy for many aspects like water, sanitation and food as well.”
So the next time you think that plastic bottle is to be thrown, think again. It could very well serve as a light bulb in someone’s hut!

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