Repurposing PET bottles for Agriculture (EEP 2021: Progress Report)

Fruitful Vines College is a school where positive change agents are raised, located in Oyo State, Nigeria. The Project Team is made up of ten students (five boys and five girls), one coordinating teacher and two supporting teachers. The students were selected based on their individual abilities which are relevant to the core missions of ISNAD-Africa and the goals of the project. Three students have natural problem-solving skills, two are talented in designs and drawings, one student has strong public speaking skill, one of the students is good with numbers, while others have passion for agriculture (among other skills).

The choice of project was motivated by insufficient, erratic supply and total lack of rainfall experienced in the drier months of the year which makes it impossible for farmers to cultivate crops and in turn causes food scarcity. Having identified this challenged, we realized that the use of irrigation facilities can prevent the shock of absence of rainfall on the crops.

We further chose to build a storage system because we have observed that there is wastage of agricultural crops during harvest season of agricultural produce, caused by glut of those crops and results in marked increase in the price, or total absence of some agricultural produce during dry season.

In achieving the foregoing, we decided to repurpose plastic wastes (PET bottles) which has been a menace in our community, to develop the irrigation channel and storage facility.

We kickstarted the implementation of our project with the following:

  • Picking bottles in our immediate environment and encouraged other students outside the team to participate in the environmental cleanup by telling them to bring PET bottles from their households.

  • Marking the sites for constructing the barn (storage system) and vegetable bed for planting vegetables. The team measured out an area of land of 4m x 3m for vegetable and 2.42m x 1.21m for the storage system.
  • Designing Models for the irrigation and storage systems using carton and other materials, as suggested by our Advisor, Maureen Ferry. This gave the team an idea of what is to be replicated on the field.

  • Filling the bottles with sand which increases its stability and strength to build the storage system. The team also tried to determine the type of bottles to use in constructing the irrigation system concurrently.

  • Cutting and fitting the bottles.

  • The vegetable beds were made and green amaranth seeds were broadcasted. Green amaranth is a crop that needs a good amount of water for its survival and that why it was selected to test the efficiency of the irrigation system.

In the coming weeks, we would make necessary amendments on the irrigation channel and begin construction of the storage system.

We will like to acknowledge that engagements with our project Advisor, Maureen Ferry have been really helpful. She is always ready to help and boost the team’s morale. She encouraged the team to have and stick to already made schedule, while also giving ideas on how to make the barn suitable for storage of agricultural produce, as well as aesthetics in nature. She advised and suggested that the team solves the challenges faced while on the first half of project execution. The attention she gives and her desire to see the project moving progressively is worthy of appreciation.

Likewise, we would like to appreciate ISNAD-Africa for the privilege to participate in the Environmental Education Programme. The team is also sincerely grateful to North America Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) and Wells Fargo for financing this project.

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