March 2017 Love, peace, happiness, kindness, simplicity, and clarity are the motivation of every initiative taken by Goa-based healer Dr Patrick San Francesco. This gifted healer, with degrees in law, accountancy and medicine, has been healing people since the past few decades through his indepth knowledge of alternative therapies. And now through his Samarpan Foundation – that works for rural and urban development in multiple fields – he has become a medium of healing the planet. The foundation has pioneered a method of eco-construction technology with waste plastic bottles and fish-net that is proven to withstand earthquakes of up to 9.8 on the Richter scale. “India faces a housing shortfall of 19 million dwelling units. By using these PET bottles and fish net, one can build sustainable and earthquake-resistant homes that reduce carbon footprint and also bolster cottage industry by giving employment opportunities to the old and infirm,” he says. These kinds of unconventional building experiments have been taking place in the West and African countries since the last few years. When a PET bottle is filled with mud or sand and recapped, it can be used as a solid, everlasting brick, and can successfully replace steel. These bottles, with a high tensile strength, are strong, durable, versatile, non-brittle and also act as heat-insulators. They can therefore withstand heavy shock loads, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Construction with PET bottles greatly reduces plastic waste and also lowers carbon emissions during conventional brick-baking. Samarpan Foundation’s latest initiative addresses two major challenges faced by the country – shortage of affordable housing and disposal of plastic bottles. “These novel homes made from plastic bottles and fish net are affordable, easy to build, energy self-sufficient, well-insulated, earthquake-resistant, fire-proof, and offer a sustainable solution to the ever-growing pollution problem,” says Patrick. For a region of the world where money tends to be scarce, the bottle-houses are estimated to cost one-third of a house made of concrete and bricks. The Foundation collects bottles from top and mid-level hotels who otherwise discard them into landfills. Dr Patrick San Francesco presented this ecological earthquake-resistant construction technology at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
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