Use of plastic is a great threat to human society. Because, plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic objects in the Earth’s Environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitats and human. Majority of plastic is released as waste due to inadequate recycling and incineration facilities. Among half of plastic debris comprise single-use polythene bags. The unchecked spread of grocery bags has ravaging effect on environment and human health. And it is a challenge to motivate people to make plastic free world. Our institution is determined to free the campus from all sorts of plastic waste. Without whole-hearted cooperation from local residents, plastic-bag free initiative will remain ineffective. Sovanagar High School, Malda, West Bengal has taken up the challenge in its own way. The school managing committee has resolved to waive fees for students seeking admission to our school if they join the anti-plastic programme improvised by the student’s parliament of the institution. With this low-cost plastic waste we have done some works in the school to build up knowledge about sustainable development.
India is estimated to throw away over 25,000 tons of plastic waste every day. Around 40 percent of it is left uncollected. Our initiative is to make something sustainable, literally out of garbage. Building construction with plastic bottles are low-cost and eco-friendly. The packaging and plastic bottles are unlimited now a days. These comprise a large portion of the waste to form greenhouse gasses all around the world. The reuse of plastic bottles is a more efficient solution than recycling. The plastic bottles now can be treated as a building block material similar to bricks for small scale construction. This hence will form a secondary function of bottles, to keep them rid from throwing into landfills. They are readily available and an economic building material.
The whole environment and society may be benefitted by employing plastic bottles in building construction. The following are the objectives of the project work;
- To reduce the total waste in the community.
- To reduce additional cost of building material as materials are local, so no additional cost for the same.
- To preserve the natural resources.
- To reduce the carbon footprint.
- To reuse the plastic bottles and to collect from garbage.
- To implement the very easy technology to construct a building.
- To spread awareness among students, local people and in the society about the plastic pollution.
Materials and Methods
Description of Study area
The study area, i.e, Sovanagar High School is located in a densely populated area of Sovanagar gram panchayat 20 kilometer away from Malda town of the state of West Bengal. The latitude and longitude of the school are 25.0431N and 87.9764E. The total enrolment is now 2852.
The school managing committee has resolved to waive fees for students seeking admission to our school if they join the anti-plastic programme improvised by the student’s parliament of the institution. The facility attracted and encouraged more students. The fee waiver would mean some loss in the raising of development fund but we consider it as an investment to ensure a better environment for succeeding generations. The students had been asked to collect plastic-waste from their houses, localities and other places and deposit them to the school. Beside this, members of student’s parliament worked with nodal teachers to gather garbage including water bottles and disposable bags.
Plastic bottles as bricks
After collection plastic bottles were being inserted with used plastic carry bags and in some cases with sand and infill materials. Each plastic bottle contained 300 grams of plastic waste or sand. As those bottles turn hard, we used them as an alternative to bricks. Once they were constructed, they were plastered on the exterior. Collecting plastic bottles to make wall infill would help in improving the surrounding environment that in turn creates inexpensive building materials. The sand used to fill the bottles would bring excellent insulation towards the heat caused.
Recycle of plastic
Students joined the squad in managing plastic waste sustainably and economically. Initially, we had gone through extensive research about waste, and how to manage and recycle plastic. The solutions we found were inspiring. We used plastic waste in many ways to make our campus colourful and eco-friendly. Students made many more things with the plastic wastes to reuse the plastics.
We have used plastic bottles as an alternative to bricks to build walls of the flower garden, boundary walls, and pots. The students of the institution also made a green house, hanging gardens, green wall and many mores with the used plastic bottles.
In spite of these, anti-plastic campaigns are going here over the year. The 5th June, 2019, in the environment Day, we had cleanup the neighborhood area of the school with our Anti-Plastic S quad, NCC, Kanyasree Bahini and Child Cabinet. School management appealed to the society to ban single used plastic and our anti-plastic squad has been doing their job everyday extensively well to free the campus from single use plastic waste.
The bottle construction techniques and their benefits must be spread and educate the local community. They are the group of people who are most benefitted by low-cost construction. The local community can be involved in such projects as they can help in collecting plastic bottles and waste materials from the neighboring area of the school. This togetherness will help in developing a sustainable building. Where the money is scarce, the house construction can be done by plastic bottles. It just cost one-third of the cost of the house that is made from concrete and the bricks.
Students have done some research on recycling the plastic to made road with the plastic with construction materials. But it require extensive research because it would be nice trying to brake in wet conditions but the basic characteristics of plastic, ie; UV degradation, friction coefficient, combustion properties need to be answered before implementation.
First and foremost, I praise and thank LORD ALMIGHTY for being the unfailing source of support, comfort and strength throughout the entire period. I express my deep sense of gratitude to my fellow colleague for their encouragement throughout the period our project work. I am glad to record my thanks to my students, members of Eco club, and members of child cabinet, members of anti plastic squads for their hard and untiring works. I am particularly grateful to masons, labors for their assistance. And, finally, I wish to acknowledge my parents and other family members for their whole-hearted cooperation.
Dr. Hariswami Das