Black out in Mumbai for global warming

By Rajil Menon
Published: Tuesday 15 January 2008

december 15.   7.30-8.30 pm. Batti Bandh--the campaign sparked off by four youngsters in Mumbai to create awareness about global warming--was received well. It was compulsory for residents to switch off electrical appliances for an hour. "People in Navi Mumbai and Kalbadevi responded promptly. It led to saving of 78 mw in areas between Church Gate and Borivali," says Neil Qureishy, a campaigner. Inspired by the Earth Hour in Sydney in 2007, when over two million people switched off power resulting in a 10.2 per cent drop in energy use across Sydney, the four friends--Neil Qureishy, Keith Menon, Rustom Warden and Shiladitya Chakraborty--decided to organize a similar event in Mumbai. "We launched the campaign on September 15 with the aim that every single person can make a difference," says Warden.

Qureishy adds: "We spoke to people in local trains, buses and roads. Each of us must have spoken to a least 7,000-10,000 people." Other events such as human chain at the Marine Drive and candle light marches were also organized. On December 13, Shubha Raul, Mumbai's mayor, also requested residents to support the campaigners cause. The municipal commissioner and police commissioner of Mumbai also supported the campaign.

Although sceptics say the campaign was a non-starter and that any sudden drop in power demand could have led to problems with the grid, the campaigners do not agree. "I don't think we were unsuccessful," Qureishy says.

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