Darkness is a thing of past for the hundred odd houses in A C Nagar, Faridabad. Most of the houses in this colony do not have windows and they had to live in pitch darkness even during day time. This affected their normal lives. Women found it difficult to do household work and children found it difficult to study.
World Vision India, an NGO conducted a survey in the colony and assessed how without light families lost out on their incomes, its impact especially on women and children. Most of the men in A C Nagar are daily wage labourers and for them paying an electricity bill close to Rs 500-1000 was unaffordable.
Realizing the need to provide a cost-effective way to reduce their electricity bill burden World Vision India introduced plastic bottle solar system for lighting up homes. They also trained people who could help in installing it houses.
The first set to be trained were the Vishwas Youth Group, a group of students drawn from A C Nagar. They were taught how to make and install the plastic bottle solar light. Thanks to the enthusiastic youngsters, A C Nagar now breathes light.
Today the plastic bottle solar lighting system is installed in as many as 100 houses. During the day women are able to do small scale work and earn money. Children now study without bothering much about electricity bill.
Reusing plastic bottles and saving energy at the same time, will go a long way in supporting this year’s Earth Day falling on April 22nd –the theme being– Ending Plastic Pollution.
How does it work: The plastic bottles solar bulbs are made from usually Pepsi or coke bottles which are otherwise discarded. A small hole is cut in the roof to fit the bottle which is fitted in along with a galvanized iron sheet and sealed with a sealant. The bottle is filled with clear water and bleach added to it. During the day, as the sunlight reaches the water bottle, it can provide approximately 55 to 60 watts of light from the sun.
Pic 1: Plastic bottle view from inside the room and above the roof
Pic 2: Sarla who lives with her parents and brother’s family in a two -room house says, “I am able to do tailoring work during day time and earn some money to support my family. I am the only one at home during day time. I have to take care of three children. Before it was difficult to sit and work inside but now with the plastic bottle solar light, we can work and take care of children at home. The electricity bill has also reduced drastically.”
Pic 3: Jaishankar, Sarla’s 10-year-old nephew studying during the day as his aunt work with her sewing machine.
Picture 4: Kiran works at home during day time and earns Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 per month to support her husband who works at a factory nearby. Kiran Said,“It was difficult to sit outside and work earlier as there was no privacy. During rainy season many insects would crawl inside the house and we dreaded to stay inside the room without light. So we would switch on the light bulbs and end up paying high electricity bill.”
Picture 5: Vidya stays in a two room house along with 5 other family members. They own one fridge, one television, two fans and two light bulbs. She said, “It is very difficult to stay inside the house without using fan during mid-summer. With the plastic bottle solar light I am able to save on electricity during day. The solar light is enough for me to do household works and cook during day time.”
Pic 6: Vishwas youth group member Narender, Priyanka, Om and Shubhash (Left to right)
It is people like these four young fighters who give hope to many ongoing endeavors around the world to save the environment and make Earth Day a meaningful one. They plan to take this initiative forward and bring light to many houses wherever they see the need. The youth group has also traveled to Jaipur and done training for some youth from Jaipur slum areas on how to use the plastic bottles solar lighting system.