Published: 26th March 2020
Kara Seva's 'Bottle Brick' room in government school to reduce plastic pollution
The innovative bricks are easy to use and build and could lead to the creation of new jobs for women and youth in rural areas
The Kara Seva organisation which has adopted a government higher primary school in Bantwal taluk in Karnataka has planned to construct a functional room at the school using waste PET ((Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles instead of conventional bricks.
The organisation, with this initiative aims to transform and repurpose the overlooked and environmentally harmful PET bottles into one that is useful resource. A Kara Seva student member and an intern at Yenepoya Medical College Dr Anmol, said that the intention to construct a room using these plastic bottles is to help the environment by reusing the plastic items which are harmful. "Replacing conventional bricks with PET bottles will help the environment in many ways. Waste creation will be greatly reduced as bottles become a resource and attract value. Improved sustainable management of PET bottle waste will greatly reduce pollution of land and water bodies. It will also help reduce carbon emissions during baking of bricks and also considerably lower the demand for conventional construction materials," he said.
Chitrakala, headmistress of the school said that after drinking, these plastic bottles are thrown away without a second thought. "That's what most of us do. Plastic is one of the most disposable materials in the modern world. It makes up much of the street side litter in urban and rural areas. It is rapidly filling up landfills as well as choking water bodies. Plastic bottles make up approximately 11% of the content of landfills, causing serious environmental consequences. It is a good project and also create awareness among the young minds to reduce use of plastics," she said.
Dr Anmol further said that the discarded PET bottles will be collected, manually sorted by size, compactly filled with mud and sealed. Then these bottle bricks will be cemented together to construct floor and walls of the dwelling. He said, "We need raw materials like PET bottles(1ft=30cm), soil for filling(locally available soil will be sued to fill the bottles after separation of the stones using suitable technique, sand, cement and labor. 1ft of a room will need 15000 PET bottles for this project. A mud filled bottle is as strong as a brick and it forms a valuable alternate building material. Low cost and maintenance, along with its long life, make it excellent value for money. PET provides very good alcohol and oil barrier properties and generally good chemical resistance. The orienting process of PET serves to improve its gas and moisture barrier properties also. Plastic has high tensile strength to weight ratio which makes it strong, durable and versatile. Bottle walls act as heat-insulators. Mud filled PET bottles are non brittle and can therefore withstand heavy shock loads without fatigue or failure. In earthquake prone and flood affected areas plastic bricks structures with its high impact resistance can prevent large scale damage to properties and washing away of home. The Indian armed forces at Siachen use mud filled jerry cans in large numbers to construct living units. The jerry can walls are covered with fabric to provide effective insulation and warmth against the ruthless and freezing winds."
He further said that the innovative bricks are easy to use and build and in rural areas this can lead to the creation of new jobs, especially for women and youth.The 25-year-old Kattathila government school is located near Salethoor, Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada is adopted by Kara Seva, and is the first school in the state to be adopted by students.