Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Nigeria's plastic bottle house
Some have expressed concern about the amount of sand needed for the new houses.
"My fear is that this building method will increase the demand for sand and even lead to an increase in the price of sand," says Mumuni Oladele, a mason in the southern city of Lagos
"At the moment people looking for sand to build houses dig everywhere to get the sand. You can imagine what will happen when the demand for sand goes up to build bottle houses."
According to market research company Zenith International, most water in Nigeria is sold in small plastic bags, but it says the bottled water market is growing - accounting for about 20-25% of official sales, the equivalent of up to 500m litres a year.
This means discarded plastic bottles are actually sought after in Nigeria where they are often used for storage or by street vendors to sell produce like peanuts.
The bottles for these houses are currently being sourced from hotels, restaurants, homes and foreign embassies.
The project is also hoping to help to remove children who do not go to school from their life on the streets.
"I don't want to be a beggar, I want to work and get paid - that is why I am doing this job," says 15-year-old Shehu Usman, who is working on the building site.
"When I grow old I want to build myself a house with bottles," he says.
After the 25 houses have been completed, the next construction project for the Development Association for Renewable Energies will be a school on the estate, which street children like Shehu will be able to attend.