Sunlight in a Bottle: Story of ‘A Liter of Light’

Have you ever wondered whether the old plastic bottle you are throwing away can be put to any good use? Have you imagined, if it can start a movement that will eventually spread all over the world?

It actually can. A group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) led by engineer Amy Smith made this possible. How was it accomplished? They recycled an old plastic bottle, filled it up with bleached water and with the use of a corrugated iron sheet, attached it halfway through a hole in the roof of a tin-shed home. And guess what? This simple DIY trick takes less than an hour to install, does the work of a 55-60 watt electric bulb with the help of sunlight. It can lighten up an entire home!

Afterwards, Iliac Diaz of the Phillippines brought and initiated this in the slum houses in the town of Manila through a project called ‘A Liter of Light’. There he headed an NGO called My Shelter Foundation. In Manila, the homes of the underprivileged people were too closely built to let daylight pass through the windows. Diaz started thinking about it after watching videos of the innovation in Youtube. After initiation, his organization distributed 100 of these bulbs all over Philippines in order to escalate its use. These bulbs, which are sold for $1 per piece, have now reached across five provinces in Philippines. With this, Diaz started a movement which ultimately went from touching the lives of 70,000 people across 28,000 homes in Manila to distant countries like India, Indonesia, Switzerland and also Bangladesh.

An example of the solar bottle
An example of the solar bottle

This cheap, easy and environment friendly endeavor has such high power that is capable of lighting up an entire home. These are also constant sources of light which proves this idea as a better option than candles. It is a common tendency in the slum areas to illegally connect their homes to the electric line when they are unable to pay the bills. The scenario in our country is no exception to this. ‘A Liter of Light’ is actually a pretty good replacement for electricity or generators for that matter. According to Diaz, families can save up to $6 per month by using bottle bulbs. Talking about how the target population will react when they know about this alternative, he remarked, “It will spread like a drop of ink.”

Here is a video featuring the movement ‘A Liter of Light’. Take a look!


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