To prevent empty, waste plastic bottles and single-use polythene from entering the natural water source or soil, they need to be properly managed. However, the level at which plastic must be recycled in our country does not happen. It is therefore imperative that we insist on recycling as well as ‘upcycling’. When ‘upcycle’ you reuse any old-useless thing, giving it a facelift. A good way to reuse packets of plastic bottles, polythene, chips etc. is Eco Bricks.
Instead of throwing away old, useless plastic bottles, fill them with plastic wrappers or covers such as packets of chips, or polythene, and close the lid. These bottles can be used for construction works instead of bricks. Hence these are called ‘Eco-BRICS’. This makes you get bricks at a lower cost and also prevents the environment from getting polluted. Many people today are making eco-bricks and are used in small and big construction works.
Some children from families living in auto pin slums (a slum area) in Faridabad, Haryana, have made benches for people to sit together, making hundreds of eco-bricks from plastic bottles and other garbage. All these children are associated with the program ‘Bal Panchayat’ of ‘SOS Children’s Villages India’. It is an institution working in the field of children’s education and other interests. This institution has started a ‘Bal Panchayat’ to enable children to find solutions to problems. Children between the ages of eight and 18 are added to this program and are given a platform where they try to solve their own and their family’s problems.
Garbage collected from house to house:
16-year-old Sarita, who supports the eco-brick project, says, “We have been associated with the Bal Panchayat program and the organization for two-three years. Under Bal Panchayat, all of us children work on issues like education, hygiene and health. To spread awareness on these topics among the people of our community, we also do street plays. Every Sunday we do this type of activity. Our discussion, about a year and a half ago, was about preventing plastic waste from going into the drain or landfill. At that time, we children first came to know about Eco-BRICS what is it? How to make it? ”
Sarita’s father, a student of class 11 in a government school in the city, works in a factory and her mother is a homemaker. Along with her studies, Sarita is working with other children on social and environmental related topics. He further explained that first of all they started from their homes. He explained, “We explained to our mother in our homes that they should keep plastic bottles and other dry waste separate from wet waste. Whatever plastic bottles or garbage came out in the house, we children started collecting at one place. ”
Another member of the team, Nandini, says that in the first four-five months, she focused only on collecting bottles and other plastic waste. But, once he collected more than 100 plastic bottles, he started making eco-bricks from them. She says that all the children used to do these tasks on their return from school or on Sundays. Nandini is a second-year student at the graduation and says, “All the children of Bal Panchayat, we were collecting, were collecting garbage from their homes. But, we had to make more eco-brick to do something good. ”
Therefore, all the children also approached other homes. Everyone in the community went and asked them to give the plastic waste coming out of their homes to them. But nobody listened to them. Nandini says, “When we used to go to the garbage from house to house, many people made fun of us. Everyone started calling us trash. Many people even complained to our parents that instead of studying, children are engaged in wrong things. But, we did not give up, rather we collected more than 300 plastic bottles and made eco-bricks. Each eco-brick weighed around 200 grams. ”
Together with the local team of the organization, these children created eco-bricks and then decided that they would use them to build benches for the people in their community. After preparing the children’s eco-bricks, the institution helped them to create two ‘eco-benches’ in the colony. Sarita says that when the eco-bench was built, many people appreciated our work. Now our parents also do not stop us from doing this work. Because, these benches are useful for all people.
Talking about the project, the organization’s secretary general Sumanta Kar stated, “Our aim is to provide children a platform to do something different and learn new.” Such activities give rise to a sense of responsibility in children. To prevent plastic waste from growing, the solution found by the children of Autopin Slum is quite simple and effective. This whole project, from collecting plastic bottles to making eco-bricks, is something all children have done on their own. He was mentored by the members of the institution but, at the grassroots level, all the work was done by the children. ”
All the children associated with Bal Panchayat are currently working on this project. As they collect enough plastic bottles and other garbage, they start making more eco-bricks. People can also make ‘Eco-brick’ at their homes and then use them for some work. Or, if desired, people can also do such projects at the community level to build eco-brick sustainable benches, dog shelters (dog shelters) or public toilets.
In the end, these children only say that people are not serious about waste management in the place where they live. Because of this, garbage piles up and diseases spread. Also, the environment is contaminated. But since these children are making eco-bricks, they have ensured that no garbage from their homes goes into the river or drain or landfill. This small step, along with being in the interest of the environment, is good for their community as well.