A new project in Gaza is countering the lack of building materials by turning unwanted plastic bottles into bricks.
The Aysar Project, created by civil engineers Ayman Ashour and Ahmad Al-Jadba, recycles plastic waste materials and turns them into bricks used for roofing.
Traditionally adobe bricks and mortar are used for roofing; these are made of sand, soil and cement. However, as a result of Israel's stifling siege on the Strip, these are difficult to obtain and have left people unable to build or fix their roofs.
Ayman told MEMO that the new type of bricks held recycle plastic and waste materials and also held deal with the inability of locals to access building materials.
The idea was their graduation project and cost $10,000. They received a $4,000 grant from the Mobaderoon funding organisation and used $6,000 of their own funds.
The plastic bricks are light weight, weighing only 1.5 kilogrammes, compared to the traditional adobe bricks which weigh between 17 and 20 kilogrammes each. In spite of this, Ayman explained, they can handle 140 kilogrammes of weight per square metre.
Though they are a little more expensive than the conventional adobe bricks, $1.50 versus $1.20 each, a building using this new brick requires less cement and thus overall costs would reduce by approximately 20 per cent, Ayman explained.
Ayman added that the siege on the Gaza Strip has hindered the project's ability to create a metal mould for the bricks, with the first brick taking nine months to create. He added that it would take the same amount for the mould to be made at a cost of over $7,000.
The engineers hope to launch their project internationally and receive a patent. Some specialists have said that such a project could make a positive change on a global scale.