The EcoBrique project – a innovative scheme that creates bricks from plastic waste - began in Niaga in June 2020 as a two-fold initiative: The programme brings the community together to create buildings that it can all benefit from as well as at the same time, addresses the issue of plastic waste. The EcoBrique solution prevents littering, stores dry non-organic waste and reduces risk to marine life (80 per cent of plastics found in the oceans come from land-based source), all while creating an alternative construction material that can benefit the community.
So far over 3000 children have joined in the campaign and created 6000 bricks which have contributed to building a primary school toilet and EcoBrique benches as well as major renovation works at two schools and the Youth Centre. Solar lighting has been installed in the local market for those starting work in the early hours - as well as a community water pump which negates the need to carry water long distances.
The scheme has also created gardens for communal use and enabled the planting of 600 trees – the produce of which can be used to feed communities or sold to local hotels. The local health centre, which was built by Paris Dakar Rally Founder Thierry Sabine and is used by the entire community, has been repainted plus a reworked solar energy system and new energy efficient light bulbs installed.
Beyond Lac Rose, the Ecozone Project will spread to Dakar through the ‘Ecobrique Challenge’, where communities will be challenged to contribute to resolving the urban waste issue by producing Ecobriques (PET bottles filled up with dry and non-recyclable waste, mainly post-consumer plastics). This will divert over 40 tonnes of waste from landfill by engaging communities in ecological waste management practices and eco-construction.