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Solar power lights Nairobi soccer match

Updated: 2016-05-23 04:59
By HOU LIQIANG in Nairobi, Kenya (China Daily)

Solar power lights Nairobi soccer match

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner speaks before the final. [Photo by Hou Liqiang/China Daily]

On the eve of the United Nations Environment Assembly, UN Environment Program Executive Director Achim Steiner attended a soccer match illuminated by solar energy in a Kenya slum on Sunday evening.

Steiner kicked off the final of the Solar Soccer Cup, which is for boys under 15, at the Philips Community Lighting Centre in Mathare, the second-largest slum in Kenya, and also participated in a penalty shoot-out after the first half.

"Having access to sustainable and reliable lighting after dark changes the complexion of a community entirely," Steiner said. "The activities that can be conducted in a public space after night falls can help build social cohesion and stronger communal bonds."

"We have seen what it means to Mathare, but a soccer tournament is just one example. Markets and businesses can operate outdoors, and citizens feel safer socializing in public spaces. That the lighting is solar-powered, and therefore sustainable and reliable, means communities can enjoy these benefits without worry of scarcity or effects of pollution."

The game under LED outdoor lighting powered by a sustainable solar power unit from Philips attracted an audience of several hundred from Mathare.

The Solar Soccer Cup was organized by Philips Lighting to mark the successful implementation of more than 100 Philips Community Light Centers at football pitches in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly will commence at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday under the overarching theme of delivering on the environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It ends on Friday.

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