How children of a slum in Faridabad have combined creativity and collective effort to make a difference to their environment.
The children are active participants of Bal-Panchayat of SOS Children’s Villages – a platform for the children to debate and find solutions for the problems affecting them and their families. When the Bal Panchayat took up the issue of growing amounts of plastic waste in their community, they decided to try upcycling (the process of transforming waste materials into new products of greater value) to make plastic waste into reusable building blocks. With the support of the caregivers of SOS Children’s Villages, and volunteers of a local organisation, the children learned how to stuff plastic waste (use-and-throw / carry bags, wrappers, etc.,) inside plastic water bottles and convert them into bottle bricks. Made to a set density, these bricks are as strong and durable as clay bricks, and can be used to construct mini-structures.
Every Sunday, the Bal-Panchayat children set aside a few hours to collect plastic garbage and water bottles from the community that has more than 4,000 households. They gather at the community workstation and make bottle bricks with the collected plastic waste. Gradually, they create about 300 bottle bricks, each weighing about 200 grams, with which they construct benches for the community.
The children of Bal Panchayat have named bottle bricks as eco-bricks, since these bricks represent enormous environmental value. Their future plan is to make more Eco Bricks to build structures such as benches and dustbins that meet the local requirements of the slum community.