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How plastic bottle housing scheme can address environmental challenges 

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The United Nations in its latest report had stated that over seven billion global population is threatened by human negligence of environmental challenges.

Reportedly, climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, air pollution, plastic pollution and other critical issues fuel the growing environment concerns across the world. To many experts, it therefore has become compelling for concerted efforts to be adopted toward reversing environmental disasters.

In seeking to address these menaces, the world governments and citizens would have to do their part in ensuring a global friendlier environment. As a matter of urgency, citizens must make it a duty to do little things right; like proper waste disposal and management, planting trees around houses. While governments, on the other hand, must make and pursue policies and laws that stimulate green transitions and energy access. It must seek to also drive and fund innovations that promotes and sustains friendly space.

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One of such innovations is the plastic bottle-building project, which was constructed in Paipe, a suburb of Abuja, a few kilometers away from Idu Train Station.

Sponsored by Royal Academy of Engineering, England and De Monfort University Leicester, the project was conceived and developed by a research team in the U.K, led by Dr. Muyiwa Oyinlola, in conjunction with Awonto Konsolt Limited. Being first of its kind in Nigeria and Africa, Nigerian local contractor in charge of the project, Engr. Emmanuel Awonto Mosugu told The Guardian that the development has unique and dynamic features, which makes it a low hanging fruit for all.

To bridge the nation’s housing deficit for the increasing population, the need for mass affordable scheme must be adopted as an alternative, Awonto noted, adding that the project could reduce the cost of building in relation to using cement blocks by 60-70 per cent.

The major raw materials deployed are plastic bottles waste litters and this can be sourced at a very little cost. It is estimated that about 500 million polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are discarded as waste every year in Nigeria. Because it is not biodegradable and recycling companies cannot cope with the tons of bottles being churned out into our environment, hence the need for alternative uses are these bottles is imperative.

PET is globally recognised as a non-biodegradable, durable, non-toxic material that is 100 per cent recyclable, and can last over 300 years.

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The first step in this building project was to select about 10,000 discarded plastic bottles. Then, the bottles were filled with sand and covered; they used mortar made from a mixture of clay, river sand, cement and water to hold the bottles in place. When the walls got to lintel level, the bottles were filled with water instead of sand. This was done to study the thermal mass, thereby balancing the temperature levels of the room at all times.

Other very notable features and selling points for any developer, government agency or individual seeking to provide quality affordable housing, is that this structure is bullet proof, fire proof and can last for over 500years.

When The Guardian visited the building, one of the occupants informed that she had lived there since 2017 and has not carried out any structural repairs since she occupied the apartment. Her younger brother living with her, who is an Air-conditioning technician, revealed the he couldn’t mount his Air-conditioner because of how cool the house gets even at the peak of heat.

This innovation is coming at a time where it has become relatively difficult for low-income earners to develop lands due to very high cost of cement and blocks, which are the major material for conventional building construction. If adopted on a large scale across Nigeria and Africa, plastic bottle house would significantly contribute in the global efforts to ensure a friendlier environment.

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