UMD students collected hundreds of cans in their push for solar power.

A group of University of Maryland (UM) students are making solar-powered light bulbs more readily available for poverty-stricken Filipino families.

UM’s Filipino Cultural Association (FCA) collected empty aluminum cans last month to raise money for a charity that makes the environmentally friendly light bulbs for people in the Philippines.

Isang Litrong Liwanag, which means “A Liter of Light” in Filipino, is a charity that uses plastic bottles to light homes in underprivileged neighborhoods.

The FCA collected the cans to trade them in for money to donate to the charity.

“I wanted to keep with the [charity’s] theme of recycling to improve living conditions,” said club member and community service chair Tyler Babich, a sophomore government and politics major at UM’s College Park campus. “I thought turning in aluminum cans for money was a great way to follow that theme.”

There are 3 million households without power or electricity outside Manila, the capital of the Philippines, according to statistics from the National Electrification Commission. There are some powerless neighborhoods within the city as well.

“You can imagine how big the effect of this light is in these homes,” Illac Diaz, the man behind the project, said in an interview with CNN. Diaz is the founder of the MyShelter Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on projects to increase environmental sustainability.

Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) designed the Solar Bottle Bulb. It was inspired by other cultures that use glass bottles to allow lighting through the roof.

The first attempt to use plastic bottles instead of glass bottleswas done by Brazilian Alfredo Moser, and the Philippine model is based off of his attempts.


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