Biotech partners with One Million Lights Movement

The presence of a working light bulb in a typical Filipino home is often seen as an improvement of a family’s standard of living but many poverty stricken families in Mindanao, especially those in the remotest mountains remain, literally, in the dark.

It is in these dire circumstances that households with limited to non-existent access to electricity turn to kerosene wick lamps for illumination. However, kerosene use comes with a hefty price on one’s wallet, well-being and environment.

Biotech Farms Incorporated, as a champion of social progress, has therefore partnered with One Million Lights Movement Philippines to address the apparent need of rural communities for a free and sustainable lighting source. To kickstart this advocacy, Biotech has distributed at least 500 solar powered light bulbs to the villages of Bilag and Basag in T’boli, South Cotabato.

By giving out solar powered lightbulbs, Biotech farms incorporated not only helps to improve the way of life of these communities but also helps to mitigate the health and environmental hazards that go hand in hand with kerosene use.

To date, a 375 ml or a lapad of kerosene would cost around 19 pesos. That’s almost half the price of a kilo of rice and in far-flung villages like Basag and Bila where transportation is more of a luxury than a necessity, retail prices could even go higher. Awful conditions such as this force the head of the household to weigh in his priorities and decide which is more important for his family, the need for light or the need for food. On worse case scenarios, he is even left without options. Fortunately, the use of solar-powered light bulbs easily eliminates the economic problems brought about by kerosene use as solar energy is free, inexhaustible and ubiquitous.

Biotech farms incorporated also seeks to improve the well-being of their beneficiaries as solar-powered light bulbs are without doubt healthier substitutes to kerosene wick lamps. According to a 2012 report by UC Berkeley’s Nicholas Lam, health risks such as cancer, a higher risk of getting an infectious disease, lung disease, cataracts and low birth weight have been linked to exposure to the soot emitted by kerosene wick lamps. Doing away with the source of these health risks consequentially also removes the health risks themselves.

Futhermore, combustion of kerosene oil yields black carbon (BC), a major contributor of global warming. Reducing black carbon emissions by switching from kerosene lamps to more environmentally friendly alternatives such as solar-powered light bulbs can significantly reduce the earth’s warming.

Finally, a solar powered light bulb in the household also betters the standard of living of the family by way of improving working conditions during nighttime. Enhanced and extended illumination provides more opportunities for livelihood activities as household undertakings are normally limited by daylight hours. Biotech Farms incorporated hopes that through its involvement with the One million Lights movement, families would no longer have to make do with their dark nights.