Did you know that bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet and can grow up to a height of 3 feet within 24 hours under suitable climatic conditions?
The wonders of this remarkable woody grass do not end here—bamboo also releases 30 percent more oxygen into the atmosphere and absorbs more carbon dioxide when compared to an equivalent mass of trees.
Studies have also suggested that bamboo has greater tensile strength than steel, and it withstands compression better than concrete, making it an excellent option as a construction material for buildings, especially in the current scenario where millions of trees are felled every day without being replaced.
Bamboo House India, a social enterprise based in Hyderabad has been utilising this ‘green gold’ to make eco-friendly and low-cost houses while providing sustainable livelihood opportunities to rural and tribal communities.
The venture is the brainchild of husband-wife duo, Prashant Lingam and Aruna Kappagantula who have built hundreds of strong and affordable bamboo houses since starting the enterprise in 2008.
Almost a decade later, they are piloting a concept in collaboration with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), which not only addresses the use of alternative options as construction materials but also includes the use of a very important material in construction—recycled plastic!
An office made of part bamboo fixtures and part recycled plastic is almost near completion in a public park located near the KPHB colony in Kukatpally and will be inaugurated on June 5, World Environment Day.
The project is being supported by GHMC West Zone Zonal Commissioner Hari Chandana Dasari as well.
“Set across a space of 512 sq. ft., the structure is fireproof, waterproof and termite-proof and is entirely made of recycled plastic waste including polythene bags, PET bottles and Tetra Pak waste. Having worked for over a decade in making houses out of bamboo, we realised that the scope of utilising recycled plastic in construction along with bamboo could be an excellent way of tackling our plastic burden,” says Prashant to The Better India.
Here’s a breakup of the materials used to make the office:
1. Recycled plastic roofing sheets: 800kg plastic used
2. Recycled Tetra Pak walling boards: 450kg Tetra Paks used
3. Recycled plastic false ceiling boards: 60kg plastic used
4. Recycled plastic floor tiles: 4.5 lakh polythene bags used
5. Recycled plastic paver tiles: 60,000 polythene bags used
6. 40 Bamboo boards for walling & ceiling: 720 bamboo poles and 360 woven mats used
All of this in a budget of ₹8 Lakhs!
Bamboo House India had been working on making this model a reality for over two years now and following a year of research and development, and collaboration with GHMC, the fruits of their labour will soon be put to the test the coming month.
Imagine the scope of such an innovative building model in India that will serve a dual purpose—affordable housing solutions for people as well as reducing the plastic burden on the planet!
Regarding future plans, Bamboo House India is also in talks with GHMC to construct public toilets and cafeteria modules on similar lines across the city, where recycled plastic waste walls and roofing sheets would be put to use.
“Not only is the concept innovative and environment-friendly, but the implementation of recycled plastic materials is also much more inexpensive when compared to the cost of regular construction materials. In collaboration with GHMC, we intend to expand the project across Hyderabad, which would pave the way for more people to consider the possibility of constructing houses out of recycled plastic waste at an individual level,” adds Prashant.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)