THE #SOLARBIHAR PROJECT
If you thought The Great Hulk couldn’t get any greener, Mark Ruffalo, the actor who best portrays the green Goliath in the Avengers films, has extended his support to a new project in Bihar under the name #SolarBihar project.
According to one census, 77 million households in India still use kerosene for lighting. The problem is even more acute in rural India where up to 44 percent of households lack access to electricity.
Here is all you need to know about this project:
1. Bihar is a state with an acute dearth of energy resources with over 82% of its population living in houses without a power grid connection.
2. Earlier in August, Bihar became the first Indian state to produce a fully solar-powered village. With the help of Greenpeace and Centre for Environment and Energy Development, Dharnai in Jehanabad district saw the installation of a 100 kilowatt solar-powered micro grid, capable of providing electricity to more than 2,400 people living in the village.
3. #SolarBihar project is a part of an NGO, The Solar Village Project, who are actively assisting Indian and African families and individuals to improve their lives through access, acquisition, maintenance and knowledge of solar power systems in homes with no other power source.
4. It is a campaign by Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) which has been promoting dependence on renewable sources of energy to make Bihar 100% solar.
5. Ruffalo also tweeted to express his active support for the campaign.
6. The initiative is espoused by prominent personalities like Vinay Pathak, Sanjay Mishra, Manoj Bajpayee, Neetu Chandra, Prakash Jha, Shekhar Suman and many more who have taken the “I am 100% Bihar” pledge.
7. As an impetus, the Indian market exceeded four gigawatts (GW) of installed solar energy and is headed towards becoming one of the largest global solar markets. Bihar is aiming to become the first state to run completely on solar energy.
The ‘Good Will Hunting’ star, Matt Damon, co-founded the non-profit organization, Water.org, with Gary White, in July 2009 which has been working towards providing access to safe drinking water and dignity of a healthy sanitation system to everyone, especially to women, in India.
Read below to learn all about the initiative.
1. Water.org’s program in India asserts safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities to the families living in rural and urban Indian communities in 11 states and one Union Territory (UT) – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry(UT).
Damon emphasizes the disparity in India where the poor usually end up paying 15 times more for water than an average citizen.
2. According to World Bank estimates, latrine usage is extremely poor in rural areas of the country; only 14% of the rural population has access to a latrine. Also, 21% of the communicable diseases here are owing to contaminated water.
3. Water.org also introduced the ‘Water Credit‘ initiative in India in as a solution to the safe water crisis, after it received a USD 4.1 million grant from PepsiCo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of beverages and snacks major, PepsiCo.
4. In India, Water Credit is extending philanthropic grants to microfinance institutions (MFIs). A microfinance institution is an organization that offers financial services to low-income populations.
5. Damon also adds, “These loans are paying back at 98 percent, so that’s wonderful.”
“The target for spring 2016 is to reach an additional eight lakh people, which will put us over a million in total, which is great and we are on track to do it,” Damon told PTI in an exclusive interview. Besides, it is also aiming to reach out to around two lakh people for sanitation purposes till 2016, he added.
6. Besides India, the NGO is also working in various other nations including Haiti and Ethiopia with different partners.
The site www.water.org provides a comprehensive coverage of the initiative.
With power comes great responsibility and these celebrities have been in the vanguard of the campaigns to ensure basic amenities to the citizens of India, providing them a new lease of life.
Image credits: www.one.org, www.water.org, www.gettyimages.in