Batti Bandh to go national

Last year, three million Mumbaikars made an effort to be part of the Batti Bandh campaign by switching off and avoiding the use of electricity. They managed to save 178.5 megawatts of electricity in just one hour. What started as a Mumbai initiative is now going national with people from across the country volunteering to be part of the movement against global warming. Social networking site Facebook is buzzing with news about Batti Bandh and after Mumbai, teams from Ahmedabad, Pune, Delhi and Bangalore have volunteered to take the initiative forward by spreading awareness about climate change. “We want to make this a national event and more than the event, we really need is to increase awareness about global warming,” says Keith Menon, founder member of the campaign.
With support from Reliance and Tata power, there is no stopping the campaigners. Mumbai consumes over an estimated 2500 MW of energy and a reduction in its use will also help reduce the pollution that is caused by electricity plants. Moreover, the idea is to reduce the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide released by bulbs, CFCs and other appliances during that one hour.
This year, the campaign will also focus on going green with by using CFLs against bulbs, carpooling, recycling and planting more trees. Street plays will be organised across the city to spread the message to a larger audience.
“178.5 megawatts of electricity is a big chunk that was saved last year. The effort was commendable as people switched off power during peak hours,” says R Engineer, president of Urjavaran Foundation, an NGO.
For those who think Mumbai’s soaring temperatures have become unbearable this winter, Menon has the explanation. “There were cyclones in the north east that continued till September and didn’t allow the cold Himalaya winds to reach the city. Who is to blame? Global warming is responsible in more ways than one.”

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