Zecobricks is a joint initiative by Heather Owen, a primary school teacher from Gloucestershire who has lived and volunteered in Nungwi, Zanzibar for 6 months and a Zanzibari local Rajabu Salum (Roger), who has experience working with Kindergarten children, passionate about the environment and has donated his land for the project.
Single use plastic is relatively new to Zanzibar and so the local community are not fully aware of sustainable disposal. Huge amounts of plastic waste is discarded around Nungwi with no appropriate collection system. What is taken to landfill blows out over the island and into the sea. Waste is also often burned. This has caused a number of health-related problems both on land and in the ocean.
Heather and Roger’s team work with volunteers to provide free education in government schools and the local community – teaching about the dangers of single use plastic, recycling and providing fun, art lessons around up-cycling plastics.
The team collect clean plastic which is used to make ecobricks, a sustainable building block made out of non recyclable plastics, which would otherwise pollute the island.
Feilden Foundation will be providing a volunteer design service to construct a small building, collaborating with Momentum Structural Engineers, using local skills and ecobricks as the primary construction method. This building would consist of; two classrooms, resource spaces and external breakout space for play and making ecobricks. The classrooms would offer a space to provide free English literacy lessons, which are creative, encourage discussions and where children can learn motivational skills.
The objective of this project is to continue the teams services, offering education in the impacts of non-compostable waste and how to improve the situation by recycling and reusing plastic collected from the island and local village shops. The collection, sorting and cleaning of the ecobricks will create jobs for local unemployed women, offering a fair wage, and provide fun activities for children in the village.
This demonstration of the use of ecobricks will encourage locals to reuse plastic to create their own industries, buildings, furniture, etc. This can be a way for them to start their own initiatives.
Zecobricks future plans are to bring volunteers to the island to make ecobricks, continue to offer education on the environment, teach English in the classrooms and to learn from the wonderful community of Zanzibar.