The Philippines is on its way to set a Guinness world record as civic groups, led by the Rotary Club District 3830 and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), installed more than 11,000 solar bulbs in 30 communities in Metro Manila in one day.
The goal was to light 10,000 homes in low-income communities in Metro Manila Wednesday.
Shelly Lazaro, president of Rotary Club of Makati San Lorenzo and the overall project manager, said the groups were able to install 11,300 solar bulb devices.
The number has to be independently audited by Guinness Book of Records representatives who were on hand during the daylong event.
“We are aiming for the largest grassroots green-lighting program in the world,” Lazaro said.
She said this was done in Brazil a few years back with 3,000 solar bulbs installed in a day.
“For the Rotary, the record is just the icing on the cake. Our aim is community service,” she said.
While solar bulb technology is simple and inexpensive, it has a huge impact on the lives of those who live in slum communities.
The device calls for an empty 1.5-liter plastic soda bottle which is filled with a liter of water and a proportionate amount of bleach.
The plastic bottle is fitted in a metal sheet, placed in a hole on the roof, so that it can take in light during the day.
The gadget can light a darkened room like a 60-watt bulb does. It can last up to five years before the water has to be changed.
Lazaro recalled that when her group introduced the device at a barangay in San Juan City, a woman cried upon seeing the solar bulb work.
The woman said that with enough light in the room, her children no longer had to go out in the streets to read.
“It’s a very simple technology with a huge impact,” Lazaro said.
The inexpensive and ecofriendly device works not only for darkened rooms in slum areas but also for small grocery stores, public market stalls and even warehouses that need lighting.
Using the solar bulb also reduces the fire hazard from the use of lighted candles and gas lamps.
All 77 clubs under Rotary District 3830 were involved in the project. They provided the materials while the AFP provided the manpower and vehicles.
The project also involved My Shelter Foundation which provided the technology, as well as One Meralco Foundation and local government units.
My Shelter Foundation is led by Illac Diaz, who was part of the group of students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which came up with the device.
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