Daily Archives: October 25, 2011

They’re Finally Seeing the Light

And now from the department of absolute ingenuity: Empty plastic one-litre bottles are literally lighting up households across the Philippines.

Several million families in the Philippines don’t have access to electricity, says the MyShelter Foundation, a group that is spearheading the initiative. Even in the middle of the day their homes are dark, meaning indoor activity is impossible – and the risk of tripping over stuff is significant. The bruised-shin-saving project is called Isang Litrong Liwanag, which in the Tagalog language means A Litre of Light.

One dwelling at a time, Isang Litrong Liwanag is brightening these households with solar bottle bulbs (a prize to anyone who can say that five times fast). It’s a nifty invention: Combine a plastic bottle with water, bleach and a small piece of metal roofing, stick it through a hole in the roof and seal it all together, and you can divert enough sunlight to rival the power of a medium-wattage light bulb. Check out this video as you hum the tune to “You Light Up My Life.”

This is not the first place in the world to use bottles as makeshift light bulbs, but this may be the first initiative to bring light to such a widespread number of homes. Feel like pitching in? You can certainly drop off your empties at a bottle depot set up for this purpose. But for those who don’t happen to live near Quezon City in the Philippines, the organization also accepts money donations by PayPal.

P.S. If you’re passing a newsstand in a Canadian city in the near future, pick up a November issue of Canadian Family magazine. It includes my how-to article on teaching generosity to children. And a little plug for this blog, naturally.