Ba’kelalan School Kids – Reducing Plastic Waste, A Brick at a Time

Ba’Kelalan Primary School 

Plastic waste, particularly single use plastic are becoming a major concern on the international level. Plastics and their byproducts are littering our cities, oceans, and waterways, and contributing to health problems in humans and animals.

Plastic takes a long time to decompose and can leach toxic chemicals in our soil and water, which can have an impact on human health. Wildlife can also get entangled in the plastic or if they mistake it for food they can choke or starve to death.

For rural remote communities in Sarawak, it is a major concern as the lack of proper waste collection systems usually leads to plastic pollution in rivers.

img201710021558411651177423.jpg

View of Buduk Nur.

Shame if this beautiful  place were to be victims of accumulated plastic waste. 

For the village of Ba’kelalan, the issue of plastic waste was no different until a visitor by the name of Rob Lair and local guide Edwin Meru came up with the suggestion of making ecobricks from plastic bottles.

What is an Ecobrick?

An ecobrick is a plastic bottle packed with plastic to a set density

An ecobrick is a plastic bottle packed with plastic to a set density to create a reusable building block. Ecobricks are used to make pathways, garden spaces and full-scale buildings such as schools and houses. the following link has a very comprehensive and easy to understand method on how to make ecobricks.

The case for change in Ba’kelalan 

Waste management for Ba’Kelalan Primary School had just only been a recent concern. Ba’Kelalan have been receiving visitors from around the world and every time they visit the school, the usual drill was a small talk would be done followed by a tour around the school including the dump site. 

The common question posed would be “Where does the rubbish go from there?” 

Then came local boy Edwin Meru and his guest Rob Lair that pitched the idea of making ecobricks. This all happened in late 2018 and now it has become a major initiative of Ba’Kelalan primary school. 

I was fortunate enough to be able to see the kids work on their ecobricks. 

ecobrick boys (1280x1099)

Ba’Kelalan school boys working on ecobricks

The school kids and the teachers in a week would gather all kind of plastic waste such single use plastic, Styrofoam, used laminated cards and sweet wrappers. 

This initiative is done about twice a week as part of their co-curricular activity. 

Eco brick teachers and students (1280x919)

The teachers also pitch in.

Cikgu Sang who is one of the leaders in this project, said that eventually once they have enough ecobricks, the plan is to build a parents waiting shelter or a store. But there is no rush. If they can reduce the usage and be less dependent on plastic, that would be better. 

School kids eco brick (1280x856)

One for the album. 

For now it is packing those plastic bottles and making ecobricks. The next Eco project in their pipeline is the PVC Solar Hot Water System. 

Conclusion

The kids of Ba’kelalan primary school did teach me a good lesson. Reduce plastic usage where you can was my take away message. Time to buck up and reduce our dependence on plastic. 

If you want to contribute books,  technical assistance or ideas on cheap innovative green technologies that would benefit Ba’kelalan Primary School and the community, you may contact them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/skbakelalan/

 

Thank you for reading and if you want extra details on the above, drop me a line and I’ll get back to you soon as possible. Till my next Bejalai, take care and don’t forget to comment.

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