Khiri Travel Launches EcoBrick Project in Earthquake-stricken Indonesia
Since the end of July, the island of Lombok and Central Sulawesi in Indonesia have suffered from a series of huge earthquakes that have cost many lives and left thousands of people homeless. Furthermore on September 28th, a devastating tsunami hit Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi, destroying 80 percent of the city. As of October 8th, the death toll stood at just below 2,000, with over 5,000 people missing.
Khiri Travel Indonesia took immediate action following the first earthquakes that struck the island of Lombok and smaller islands in the area in late July and early August, and with the many donations we received from you – our fantastic clients – we were able to assist in providing essential supplies to those in the stricken areas.
Under the flag of Khiri Travel’s charity arm, Khiri Reach, Khiri Travel Indonesia has now put together a special team that will help to rebuild devastated areas of Lombok with its ‘EcoBrick Project’. Ecobricks are made from plastic bottles packed with small pieces of plastic waste that can then be used as building blocks to repair existing structures or build new ones.
“We could see that many people had lost their homes and jobs, which raised the question as to how they would be able to buy food and essential supplies”, said Robert Molenaar, operational manager at Khiri Travel Indonesia. “It was also clear that the makeshift camps set up for those made homeless were facing sanitation and waste problems. Discarded pieces of plastic waste can hold rainwater, which means the camps could become potential breeding sites for mosquitoes. With the EcoBrick Project we can used the discarded plastic to make the ecobricks, which will help to keep the camps clean and also serve to create useful building blocks for repairing damaged structures,” Robert added.
The pilot EcoBrick Project is being launched by local and Western volunteers from Lombok and will be supported by Khiri Reach until the project is self-sustainable. It will encourage people living in the temporary camps of northern Lombok to make these useful building blocks in return for food and other basic essentials. People in the camps will be taught how to make the bricks from the standard 600ml water bottles.
For each ecobrick produced, the person will receive a stamp on a card, and these stamps can be collected and then traded for essential goods. The project aims to keep the camps clean and provides local people with useful jobs and tools. Khiri Reach’s EcoBrick Project team will also consist of a newly graduated architect, who will provide locals with free advice on how best to use ecobricks in the construction process.
A pilot ecobrick project was first launched in Gunung Sari, a district just north of Mataram, the provincial capital of Nusa Tenggara Barat, where it showed promising results. More than 400 ecobricks were made in the first week of the scheme, leading to cleaner areas, as plastic waste was removed.
The EcoBrick Project is now being launched in Lombok camps, and in collaboration with Khiri Travel’s office in Sulawesi, plans are already underway to launch a similar initiative in devastated parts of Central Sulawesi.
Khiri Travel Indonesia will provide even more support for this amazing project by donating US$1 to the scheme for every room night a client visits Lombok and/or Sulawesi, for the whole year of 2019!