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Indian slums switch to solar powered lamps

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/15/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Extraordinary step intended to cut down on kerosene lamps, oil burning

In the slums of New Delhi, India, where starvation, disease and filth run rampant, a most extraordinary thing is happening. The poor here are being given solar lamps in order to use cleaner energy. The smoke from kerosene lamps, in addition to wood burning stoves, has made the air there hazardous. Pollinate Energy, a social enterprise start-up is helping people living in the slums to use cleaner energy.

Many poor urban communities in India are forced to live by candlelight. Slum tenants also use polluting fuels like kerosene, or 'steal energy' by illegally tapping in to the power lines of wealthier neighborhoods.

Many poor urban communities in India are forced to live by candlelight. Slum tenants also use polluting fuels like kerosene, or "steal energy" by illegally tapping in to the power lines of wealthier neighborhoods.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
4/15/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Slums, India, solar power, off the grid


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pollinate Energy, which began in 2013, is one of thousands of businesses in India tapping into the clean energy market. It's estimated that 35-40 percent of the entire population has no access to electricity.

Many poor urban communities in India are forced to live by candlelight. Slum tenants also use polluting fuels like kerosene, or "steal energy" by illegally tapping in to the power lines of wealthier neighborhoods.

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Pollinate Energy markets and sells renewable energy lanterns and stoves on a five-week, interest-free payment plan to families living under tarpaulin sheets in Bangalore's slums.

"There are actually a lot of organizations selling clean energy products in the rural sector already, and we found that there was a big gap in the market in the urban sector," Monique Alfris, co-founder of Pollinate Energy says. "Nobody believes that there are people in urban environments who are using kerosene for light."

As opposed to those who reside in developed nations, "living off the grid" usually means living in a self-sustaining environment in remote, rural areas. The opposite is true for India, where millions of people are off the grid in urban centers. Burning fuel in poorly ventilated places like a tent or small hut contributes to indoor air pollution, which can cause premature death in women and young children.

New alternatives such as solar lanterns and clean cooking stoves are now being manufactured on a larger scale. However, urban slum and village communities have not been aware of these new technologies and have not bought the products.

Pollinate Energy says there is a serious need to focus on urban areas, given the thousands of rural migrants streaming into India's towns and cities every day, who face "energy poverty" - a lack of access to modern energy services.

"India is one of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world. There are always more and more people coming into the cities," Alfris says.

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