Contribute an Eco-brick to new school facilities in Hlaing Thar Yar
Plastic is everywhere- on the streets, littering our parks, floating in the waterways and even in the foods we eat. Even if we try to live a green lifestyle, it is hard to completely avoid plastic.
Thankfully there is an easy, effective way to reuse this plastic waste: eco-bricks. Eco-bricks are made by densely packing a plastic bottle full of plastic waste. Once filled, these bottles are durable and water-resistant and can be used as an alternative to normal bricks.
The Badana Aid Foundation, a local charitable group, has built two eco-brick school buildings. The first was constructed in Na Jo Ai Village, south of Bagan, in 2016 and the second project took place in 2018 near Inle Lake.
Now, Badana Aid is working on a third project in Hlaing Thar Yar. ‘Our goal is to build classrooms for non-formal primary education (NFPE) program’, says Win Thuya, the founder of Badana Aid Foundation. A joint effort of the UN and the Myanmar Government, NFPE aim to provide basic knowledge and skills for children who cannot attend regular school. In Hlaing Thar Yar, many kids skip school in order to pick through rubbish piles. They find scraps of metal or other objects to sell as a means of supporting their families
‘The NFPE programs are so important for these youth. Providing them with a clean, safe space where they can learn basic skills will, hopefully, help them have a brighter future’, Win Thuya explains. ‘We have secured the necessary permissions and the financial support to build the classrooms. The only thing remaining is to source eco-bricks to be used in the construction.’
Based on the architectural designs, around 3,000 eco-bricks are needed for the construction. ‘The teachers and students in Hlaing Thar Yar are contributing some of the eco-bricks but we are asking for the support of the greater Yangon community as well’, says Anne Cruickshanks, a volunteer with Badana Aid. Each bottle takes around 30-45 minutes to fill and while it is easy to do, there are a few key rules to follow. The bottle and the plastic waste should be clean and dry. Any dirt or water will affect the longevity of the eco-brick. It is also important to make the bottle as compact as possible, removing air by using a stick to compress the plastic down. A completed eco-brick should feel tight and hard, similar in density to a real brick. A video and further instructions can be found on the project’s Facebook page: HlaingTharYarBottleSchoolProject
‘What I think is so wonderful about this project is that it doesn’t cost a dime to make a difference. You just take the waste you have at home and spend an hour or so stuffing a bottle,’ remarked Anne. ‘It is also a great project for school kids or families- you gain a better sense of how much plastic you use in your daily life and learn about ways to re-use it.’
Parami Pizza, Rangoon Tea House and Union Bar have generously offered to serve as drop-off points for the Eco-Bricks. If you or your organization plan to contribute 10 or more eco-bricks, Badana Aid is offering free collection.
See how to make a Eco-Brick here https://www.facebook.com/HlaingTharYarBottleSchoolProject/videos/390486418929432