By Kate Walker
Most of the 7000 islands in the Philippines rely on candles, paraffin or battery powered lamps as primary sources of light in their homes. The Salt lamp, by engineer Lipa Aisa Mijena, offers a possible alternative. Mijena is part of the department of engineering at De La Salle University and is a member of Greenpeace Philippines. She is deeply invested in the wellbeing of Philippines’ underprivileged communities. The idea for the Salt lamp occurred to her when she spent time with the Butbut tribe, who were greatly in need of a sustainable and eco-friendly lamp for people living without access to electricity.
The lantern is environmentally friendly - it does not emit any harmful gasses - and ethically made. Both cost effective and sustainable, the Salt lamp is powered by a simple saline solution: one glass of water mixed with two tablespoons of salt allows for eight hours of light. The lamp will even run off ocean water.
The lamp’s electrode can last for up to a year depending on how many hours a day the lamp is used. The natural elements that power the lamp mean that it’s a completely safe alternative to oil lamps, which are often the cause of household fires in the Philippines.
For Philippians, the Salt lamp is a reliable light source in the third most natural-disaster prone country in the world. Users can plug in a USB cable to charge a smartphone.
Currently in production stage, the team behind the product aim to have the lamps available for purchase later in the year, however, their main priority is to deliver the Salt lamps to Philippine and NGO-supported communities who need them most.