Even as images of quake-hit Nepal recede from our memory, Samarpan Foundation is determined to deliver a special gift to the country—permanent earthquake-resistant houses made of PET bottles.
We are all aware of the tragedy that has befallen Nepal. Today, after almost two months, people are still trying to recover from the severe damage, loss of life and destruction caused by the earthquakes while dealing with the too frequent aftershocks that rattle the Himalayan Kingdom. The outpouring of relief from around the globe in the form of food packets and shelters, medical aid, drinking water, clothes, the list is endless, have, no doubt, helped the people immensely in their efforts to cope with this tragic time.
But, what most people tend to overlook is that relief is an on-going process especially in a situation, which Nepal is currently facing. The destruction has almost levelled the entire economy of the kingdom and people are faced with the immediate threat of the monsoons and the not too distant freezing Himalayan winter without any prospects of livelihood and decent housing to protect them from the elements.
Samarpan Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, has taken the initiative to build permanent houses in Nepal keeping in mind that this country lies in one of the most volatile seismic region with possibilities of major earthquakes in future. They use ecological construction methods that have been certified to withstand up to 9.8 on the Richter scale. This project will provide long-term support and permanent climate sensitive earthquake resistant homes for the people of Nepal.
What started as an eco-friendly initiative and a unique waste-management idea is today emerging as the hope of earthquake-devastated Nepal, which is desperately in need of low cost housing. A basic 14×20 house would cost about Rs 1,20,000, without taking into account salvaging costs.
Samarpan’s technique for construction is unique, as they are using the PET bottle and nylon-6 fishnet method that has been tested for certification by the Structural Engineering Research Centre, a constituent of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in India.
The patented technology behind the PET bottle and fishnet project was developed by Patrick San Francesco, the chairman of the foundation. Instead of bricks, pet bottles packed tightly with mud are used and these are held together by using nylon-6 fishnets, which is the key to making these buildings earthquake resistant.
- This method of construction is low cost and an example of recycling PET bottles without any carbon footprint. The process of manually filling the bottles will create a zero investment cottage industry and will provide employment for the Nepalese people participating within the project. In phase I, a construction team of 8 members from India will be assisted by much larger team of Nepalese people as labourers. All donations will fund the purchase of construction materials and labour cost. Once built, Samarpan Foundation will give the completed homes to the Nepalese people. Their aim is to collect INR 50,00,000 for first phase of construction to complete before the severe Himalayan winter.
- The usage of discarded PET bottles filled with mud makes it an extremely efficient insulator, ideal for the low temperatures in Nepal. Since Nepal is a tourist destination there is an abundance of discarded PET bottles. The use of nylon fishnet in place of steel and the concept of binding the fishnet to the bottles make for an earthquake resistant construction.
- In rural areas where there may be a dearth of PET bottles due to poor tourist influx, a module has been developed that comprises of clay bricks with fishnet. This has the same bonding as the PET bottle and fishnet module.
Samarpan’s team has already implemented this unique technological marvel in the remote Bali Island, Sunderbans, West Bengal, India, where they have built a 7,000 sq ft 30 bed charity hospital with 3,00,000 bottles. Their successful implementation shows their project management skills and eco construction experience in remote and difficult circumstances.
Some locations have been identified and the groundwork has already started there. Samarpan Foundation volunteers along with local labourers are working in Gorkha district, Dhuwakat, and work is likely to begin soon in Jorpati, Kathmandu.
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To view a video on the building structure and test, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MAaCQCzgbs
Please view the Earthquake Test report at
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