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Thursday, 4 July 2019

Construction of a walkway using plastic bottles

Students from the department of Animal and Environmental Biology, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria constructed a walkway using plastic bottles, their caps and wraps. Read this article to know why and how they constructed the walkway.

Why construct a walkway made of plastics?

Bad road

The road leading the building of the department is not very accessible especially in the rainy season. Students and staff passing through that road must walk on water or through grass. Something must be done, a road must be made.
Flooded road in the University of Port Harcourt

Plastic pollution 

Plastics are bad for our environment. They cause flooding by blocking our drainage systems, trap and kill aquatic animals, reduce the beauty of our society and they increase in number every second. We need to come up with ways to reuse plastics. AEB students (U2016 set) came up with a way to reuse the bottles. In this case, they decided to build a walkway as a form of community service to the department. Seeing the plastic bottles, caps and wraps on the walkway will teach and motivate others that wastes can be reused, we should dispose our wastes correctly and not everything we term "waste" is useless.
Plastics litter our environment
Pile of plastic bottles collected by U2016 AEB students

What were the uses of each part of the plastic bottles?

The main bottle

Most of the plastic bottles were used as kerbs (both edges of the walkway), some were used as expansion joints while others were used on a step at the entrance of the walkway.
Plastic bottles placed as kerbs

The bottle caps

The bottle caps were used to decorate the surface of the walkway. They were used to write "U2016 SET & AEB STAFF" and make several patterns and drawings.
Pretty butterfly made by plastic bottle caps
Entrance of the walkway

The wraps

The wraps of all bottles used for the construction were stripped off before the bottles were placed. While some wraps were properly disposed, we used most for decoration of some bottles. They were placed inside the bottles so that they will be visible.
Wraps placed inside the plastic bottles

How was the walkway constructed?

The bottles were filled with sharp sand, the ground was leveled with sharp sand and mortar made of cement and coarse sand was poured on the leveled ground to make the walkway surface. On the edges of the walkway, holes were dug and the bottles were placed in the holes (filled with mortar and sand). While some parts of the walkway were decorated with the cap of plastic bottles, other parts were decorated with interlocking tiles-maker.
Leveling the ground and placing the plastic bottles
Filling more plastic bottles with sand
Finished work

Other details

  • 2077 plastic bottles were used
  • 102 students participated on the construction
  • The walkway was constructed in 5 days
  • 34 hours were actively spent on the walkway construction.

What can we learn?

  • Problems can be solved, only when we are not silent about them.
  • Wastes are wastes because we are not innovative enough to have use(s) for them.
  • The youths of this generation are not all lazy, they just need to find what they can do and a
  • source of motivation.
  • Plastic bottles are the next big thing. They can be used for minor constructions, agricultural purposes, innovations and other forms of pet projects.

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