Tag Archives: green nigeria

Nigeria recycles plastic bottles, into housing!

12 Aug

Making the pillars

Step by step, bottle by bottle

Katrin Macmillan was on my Climate Change radio show Green Angle on Aso 93.5fm, a few months back to discuss indoor air pollution and efficient wood stove as alternative. She also told my audience and I about recycling and Nigeria‘s first bottle house, constructed from recycled plastic bottles in Kaduna State.Thought to also share this innovation on the blog.The house has been built using earth-filled plastic bottle ‘bricks’ and mud. The three-room structure is so sturdy that it could stand for thousands of years.

Bottle walls and pillars go up.

Plastic bottles take hundreds years to biodegrade in landfill. In Nigeria millions of plastic bottles are dumped into waterways and landfill each year causing pollution, erosion, irrigation blockages and health problems.Bottle houses take this dangerous waste out of the environment and make it useful.

Walls of the bottle house are plastered

Katrin Macmillan launched Nigeria’s bottle recycling programme in December 2010. Used plastic bottles and their lids are now being collected from hotels, restaurants, homes and embassies and, so far, thousands of bottles have been collected for the bottle house builds.

The foundation is in place and the bottle walls begin

Yahaya Ahmed, CEO of Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE), set out to build energy-autonomous houses from recycled materials. DARE have brought Andres Froesse, founder of Eco-Tec Soluciones Ambientales, to Nigeria to train local masons in the bottle building technique. Land for Nigeria’s first bottle building was donated to the project by engineer Chris Vassilou. The bottle house will be solar powered, with a fuel-efficient clean cookstove, urine filtration fertilisation systems and water purification tanks, thereby making it energy autonomous.

The next Nigerian bottle building project is a school hall in Seluja at the Africa School of Excellence, which urgently needs classroom space. The school children are being trained in the bottle brick making technique and the newly trained masons will lead the build in   January 2012.

A similar project was undertaken in Guatemala. Former Peace Corp volunteer Laura Kutner, behind the Guatemala “Trash to Treasure” project told Bruce Gellerman of Living on Earth, Boston, about the project which she refereed to as a win-win as villages are cleaner and children are getting new schools. Here is a link to Living on Earth’s  “Trash to Treasure” feature http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=11-P13-00006&segmentID=6

Children making bottle-bricks

“Nigeria has a serious waste and energy problem and this project is one small step towards making positive changes. This project can be easily replicated and is a wonderful way to enable Nigeria to recycle in a creative and practical way. Following on from this first Nigerian  bottle house the children at the African School of Excellence in Seluja have started making the bottle ‘bricks’ for their new school hall and students will be involved throughout the build. The school hall will take 200,000 bottles out of landfill and into education.” – Katrin Macmillan

Bottles were donated by

American Embassy,Centre for Disease Control, Protea Hotel,
British High Commission,Hilton Hotel, British Council Rooftop
Café, Chez Victor, USAID, Chelsea Hotel, Heinrich Boell Foundation

Photos by Katrin Macmillan and Center for Water and Environment Development (CWED).

Got lots of bottles to donate? Email: greenangle935@yahoo.com

Web-based Flood Early Warning System for Nigeria

3 Aug












About 3pm on Sunday July 12, 2011, I was chatting with my sister Ubadi when she told me how  the rain in Lagos had been on since morning. Another friend Ogechukwukamma suddenly updated her status to “This decoder, pls you just have to work”. It was the Bigbrother Africa most anticipated eviction show because one of our Favourite Karen Igho (she ofcos won) had refused to replace herself with a housemate , putting herself up for possible eviction. Thanks to the rain, I gave real time update on the eviction show to over 10 friends based in Lagos.

We all did not know the magnitude of the damage caused by the rain till pictures started flying around. Pictures of immense suffering and serious destruction. We heard stories of missing people, flooded homes,vehicles with people in them drowning in the canal, collapsed buildings killing women and children etc. I had the story of a top business executive who got drenched and his jeep inundated as he drove home. He 1st noticed his windows wind down like some invincible hands were controlling them. He tried to get them back up but nothing was working and soon the vehicle stopped. His God had mercy on him as he gathered enough energy to swim through the dirty water to safety. He survived the ordeal. The next day, he called an environmentalist friend of mine to tell his story and ended with “Now I believe this your climate change story. what can we do about it”.  The next day, children missed school as they were asked to stay home. Workers also stayed home. Nigeria lost lives and money on that day.

As a vulnerable state, flooding isn’t all time new to Lagosians, but this was totally all time extreme.The flood left about 25 people dead including 11 children and millions of property destroyed in Lagos.

And trust Nigerians, they refused to be unhappy. Funny messages were shared. “Land in Lekki for sale. N200,000.00. Hurry before it disappears under the flood”, “Flood above knee level. Who has seen Aki and Pawpaw”, “Wife found naked in neighbors bedroom says flood carried her into the room”. Some gradually laughed the pain away, but those most affected in Lagos , Kano and Kaduna would need years to recover from the trauma or may never recover from the death of a loved one.

Good news came on Tuesday August 2, 2011, when  the federal government launched an automated Web-based Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) to mitigate and control incessant flooding in the country.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, at the launch of the new technology in Abuja, stated that annual flooding experienced in most parts of the country have caused agonising human suffering and destruction of residential, agricultural, huge economic and industrial resources.

The automated Web-based Flood Early Warning system is designed to forewarn on the likelihood of flooding, thereby providing effective solution that will not only enhance the operations of relevant institution but has very high potential of reducing flood damage.

Uncontrolled urban and rural development, without adequate knowledge of the negative consequences of human activities, coupled with inadequate provision of  drainage and canals for solid and liquid waste etc are largely responsible for  these disasters.

Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia, Minister of Environment, stated that the recent floods and their devastating effects on lives and properties in the country, especially in Lagos, Kano and Katsina, have brought home the need to put in operation effective flood management strategies.

Daouda Toure, UNDP Resident Representative, said the impacts of flood and flooding are usually environmental deterioration, which makes people more vulnerable to famine, diseases, impoverishment and landlessness.

He said poverty itself leads to poor urban planning, with houses built along the water ways and poor waste management that result in dumping of refuse in waterways. This would help effectively combat the effect of climate change for sustainable development, food security and wellbeing of Nigerians.

The federal government through the Ministry of Environment and in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), put in place this institutional arrangement and mechanism for the establishment and operations of flood early warning system.

We are making moves to adapt to climate change. We must also make moves to become more environmental conscious as government and citizens. Think  environmentally-through all your actions. Development without nature is Disaster.

Where is my Tomato Jos?

25 Jul

“My tomato Jos eh,I just dey think about you, Omalicha nwa ……..” We grew up hearing the phrase “TOMATO JOS”   in music, movies, jokes etc. It is commonly used by Igbo men to describe  a very beautiful and attractive young woman. If a young lady hasn’t been called the lovey-dovey name “Tomato Jos”, by an “OMATA” or “Working class dude”, I would be surprised.

Nigeria is a big country with different zones known for some particular natural resources. From Oil, to coal, timber, iron, cocoa, groundnut, palm-oil etc. Jos, Plateau State was known for it’s food production. But most popular is the fresh Tomatoes, usually red, large, nutritious, flawless, very beautiful and affordable. It used to look like this.




















Lately, I might not find it funny being described as Tomato Jos, if you mean I look like this.

Our Tomato Jos is no more what it used to be. If you have been to the market lately, you would realize this fact. You find unattractive bowls of tomatoes staring at you. Try pricing them and you would be in for a shocker. It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t find our precious Tomato Jos, but can you afford it?

I was in Jos a few months back. I met some small scale farmers and heard their stories. They told me how their climate has changed, how much their harvest has been affected by the change in weather patterns and how they cannot feed their families. The drop in harvest is enormous. I remember a  particular farmer, who told me he wasn’t farming this season. Reason being his land is very dry, it had not rained and he cannot afford a power generating set to pump water to his farm. So now, he helps builders carry blocks and cement (Labourer) to get paid. He uses the meager wage to buy food for his family (don’t mention school yet).

We all know it, we feel it, we hear it. Our climate has changed and everything is affected. Our livelihood is threatened. Our entire planet is threatened. Biodiversity, food, water, air,all of what nature has given us freely is under threat.

It might not be Tomate Jos, but be truthful, there is a food produce that you have noticed isn’t how it used to be. Shrinking in size, increasing in cost, becoming less tasty and nutritious, just not how you used to know it. Think about it.

Lets leave some Tomato Jos for our children to eat and describe.  Don’t you want a cute guy to call your pretty daughter “Tomato Jos”? I sure do!!!

Be good to the environment.

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.