In a world filled with plastic, two friends built a home from discarded bottles

Have you ever wondered if something as ordinary as plastic could be the key to sustainable living? In the city of Aurangabad, two young women have transformed this everyday item into a house. But let's take a step back - did you know that globally, over 8 million tons of plastic find their way into our oceans every year, polluting our marine life and ecosystems? In India alone, we produce a whopping 3.5 million tonnes of plastic each year. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, things got even worse with an increased usage of plastic in our everyday purchases.

(The better india)

Meet Namita Kapale and Kalyani Bharmbe, two friends who built a house using 16,000 plastic water bottles. Yes, you read that right – a house made of plastic bottles! 

Situated in Sambhaji Nagar near Daulatabad, their house is not just made of plastic bottles. What makes their effort stand out is that they used a mix of cow dung, soil, plastic bottles, and 12-13 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic to bring their idea to life.

What led to the birth of the eco-friendly house?

These two friends, both Fine Arts graduates from the Government College of Art and Design at Aurangabad, got the idea during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2021. They saw a video of a creative project at
Akshar School in Pamohi village of Guwahati, Assam, where plastic bottles filled with cement were used to make classroom furniture, and that's when they decided to explore their own ideas of creativity and sustainability and make an eco-friendly house. 

Their journey had its tough moments. People questioned their decision, and some even called them names. However, despite opposition from their families and scepticism from society, Namita and Kalyani stayed determined. They gathered around 16,000 plastic bottles from the streets, garbage collectors, hotels, and grocery shops to use in the construction of their dream house.

The house was inspected by civil lab engineers from the Government Engineering College in Aurangabad. In July 2021, a trial was conducted to test the eco-brick wall. Initially, attempts failed as the wall, constructed using eco-bricks made of plastic and soil, collapsed several times. The plastic bricks couldn't retain water like regular bricks, and during rainfall, they would wash away with the soil. To address these issues, the girls used locally available Poyta soil, known for its sticky consistency, and after trial and error, they began constructing their eco-friendly house. The plastic bottle bricks were stacked on top of each other, and the walls were plastered with a mixture of soil and dung. The roof was constructed using bamboo and wood, and doors and windows were made from wood. Currently, a restaurant is being run in this house.

What makes this eco-friendly house or rather, restaurant, special is not just the use of plastic bottles but also the careful use of mud instead of cement. They created 'eco-bricks' using soil, bamboo, and non-biodegradable plastic waste. The plastic bottles, filled with layers of plastic and soil, were cleverly turned into eco-bricks, overcoming initial challenges and collapsed walls. 

With the help of 15 women daily wage workers, Namita and Kalyani spent ten months constructing their eco-friendly house. The structure, consisting of two square-shaped rooms and a round hut, has a unique feature - it doesn't need air conditioners in summer or heaters in winter, showcasing the inherent advantages of mud houses.

The cost-effectiveness of their creation is also impressive. While traditional cement houses can cost Rs 1,300 per sq ft in construction, Namita estimates their mud and plastic houses come in at half the amount, at Rs 700 per sq ft. The duo invested nearly Rs 7 lakh from their savings into the project, with additional financial support from their families.

They named their eco-friendly house 'Wawar,' which means a farm or an open space. 

They are confident that by taking good care of it, their house can stick around for at least ten years. Typically, mud houses have a lifespan of about this duration, and they estimate their creation could last between 10 to 15 years with regular maintenance by putting on a new layer of cow dung and soil mix.

Their work has garnered support from all over the country, including former environment minister Aditya Thackeray, who praised Namita and Kalyani for their hard work. Their journey, from facing scepticism to earning respect, shows how determination and the ability of two individuals can make a lasting impact on their community and the environment.

In a world dealing with the consequences of plastic pollution, Namita and Kalyani's eco-friendly house stands as a shining example of turning trash into treasure, inspiring us all to rethink our approach to waste and envision a sustainable future.

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Meghna is a highly motivated and experienced freelance content creator with a Master's degree in History and ongoing studies in International Relations from Amity University, Noida. Her commitment lies in making valuable contributions to discussions surrounding climate change and other challenging social concerns. With a strong background in research and writing, Meghna is adept at conducting research, synthesizing information, and creating compelling content that informs, educates, and engages her readers. She has contributed to several academic journals in the past, and her writing reflects a deep understanding of complex social problems and their potential solutions. Meghna's expertise in writing and research, combined with her strong work ethic and attention to detail, make her an asset to any organization or individual looking to create high-quality content that resonates with their target audience. In summary, Meghna is a talented and committed freelance content creator who bring

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