KARUR:Have you ever thought that the disposable PET soft drinks bottles, which invariably find their way into garbage bins, could replace bricks as construction materials? Sounds far-fetched? Check this out. A government school in the district not only constructed a perimeter wall out of these ‘disposable bottles’, it would be putting a student on flight to Mexico soon to represent India at a Science Conference in September.
After garnering accolades during the Design for Change School Challenge, 2014, held in Ahmadabad in August last year, the students of Panchayat Union Middle School in Aachimangalam, 12 kms from here, would lead India’s charge at the international meet in Mexico.
Beaming with pride, the school headmistress Mohamanbal told Express that the design was the outcome of an Eco Wall project envisaged to utilise non-biodegradable materials for constructing something lasting. After days of brainstorming, the officials of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan suggested construction of a wall under Project Based Learning Programme.
No sooner had the teachers narrated the project than students began collecting PET bottles from the neighbourhood. Soon the school got a 25-foot-long and 4.5-foot-high wall made out of 1,800 bottles.
Standing on a concrete foundation, the wall is capable of withstanding heavy winds owing to the strength provided by nearly 200 two-litre bottles at the bottom and over a 1,000 one-litre bottles on top. All the bottles were filled with sand by the students to give added strength. Later, a red sand mix was used as plaster, with a layer of cement to give finishing touches.
Elaborating on the project, Sasi Rekha, project coordinator, said, “We preferred only high density bottles. The task was laborious as bottles had to have lids. After collection came the challenging task of filling those up with sand. Students from standards VI to VIII took up the task and managed to fill up 1,800 bottles during their leisure period.”
The Karur Eco Wall was submitted in the Design for Change contest. It was shortlisted under ‘Long Lasting’ category from over 3,000 entries from across India.