Waste Bottle School in Kumarakom

25th May 2017

Today as we explore Kumarakom in the state of Kerala, India, ABM Government UP School caught our attention at the end of our visit the local villages by the river bank. Vibrant and colourful like how all schools should be, this one stood out because of its walls. Walls made of waste / plastic bottles.


Kumarakom is known for its eco initiatives. Seeing it being used at the level of schools was a nice touch and definitely a good way to inculcate the values of being environmentally conscious. I learnt from the locals that this was an initiative that took place some 7 years ago. And voila, the wall made with these waste plastic bottles is still standing strong in 2017.A simple call for action whereby the children and the local community collected the bottles from the river and their surrounding. The bottles were then filled with sand and stacked up with the usual materials including cement. Beauty in this lies in the control of pollution, cheaper cost compared to using bricks and was a project that involved the community. A pretty sight to look at too.

The river in Kumarakom with the many boat homes which are home per se and also home stay for tourism purposes.

Cruising down the river is a must do in Kerala.

ABM Government UP School 

Waste bottles filled with sand, combined with building materials to form the external wall
of the school.

I googled up a little and realised that this has been used in Vietnam and Nigeria. I love the idea and having seen it been used here in Kumarakom, I am pondering on its feasibility to be used back at home and perhaps in Laprak, Nepal the village that I am working with some pals to rebuild after the earthquake. What can we fill the waste bottles with other than sand which may be scarce in certain countries including Nepal.

That being said and some stuff for me to chew on, read up etc, it was such joy to see the kids in the school uniforms after school. Always good to know that education is not swept aside in this part of India and girls get to go to school too.

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