Students of Aadharshila Senior Secondary School in Palampur of Himachal Pradesh had been learning at school about the importance of protecting the environment and keeping their surroundings clean. But when the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was launched across the country by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, with the objective of cleaning up the entire country while ensuring good sanitation practices, the students were inspired to do their bit.
As a part of their project, ‘Clean India and Save Environment’ they wanted to address the issue of non-biodegradable waste, particularly plastic bottles that polluted the environment and had the potential to endanger wildlife in the area.
So with support from the local Rotary Club, each of the students began to collect empty plastic bottles – from the roadside, hotels and homes. Over 15 days, they had collected as many as 6000 used and empty plastic bottles. These bottles were then filled with waste material collected by cleaning the school grounds and surrounding areas/streets, turning them into bottle bricks. The idea was to use the bottle bricks to construct a wall.
As an experiment, at first the students constructed a small portion of a wall. When that looked strong and sturdy, they built a wall measuring 24 feet long and 5 feet high.
The wall became the talk of the town when people from across the town came to the school just to look at the wall of wasted plastic bottles, and were impressed with the innovative idea.
Students now have recommenced collecting bottles to make yet another retaining wall, as a part of their next project.
(Source: State Coordinator (SBM-(G), Rural Development Department, Shimla-9, Himachal Pradesh)