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Mysore man building houses with waste materials getting applauds

Saturday, January 23, 2021

One house at Harthale, Nanjangud in Mysuru, Karnataka looks no different than the others. But when one goes inside one realises why it is unique. One shall find recycled wooden windows and doors from demolished buildings, broken ceramics for surface, mud concrete blocks of building waste and flooring made from mud concrete.

The credit goes to M Rajesh Kumar Jain from Mysore. Since 2005, Mysuru-based architect Rajesh Kumar Jain has been taking concrete steps to reduce carbon footprint. Through his venture, Regional Low Energy Environment-Friendly (RLEEF), the 45-year-old reuses cement from construction debris to build sustainable and zero waste infrastructure. He says he has built around 175 houses using this debris, including his office, which is made entirely of waste material that has been carelessly dumped in isolated parts of the city, or on riverbeds.

“Construction debris from old buildings is often dumped along the riverside and chokes the water bodies. Local governing bodies have a tough time managing such waste, as there is no robust system in place to tackle the issue. Also, manufacturing cement involves the emission of harmful gases, excess use of water, and extracting natural resources from the quarry,” he says.

With help from labourers, Rajesh collects debris and processes it manually into fine granules. The method involves identifying the strength and quality of the material. Depending on the usage, the waste is used to make tiles, walls or the foundation. All the buildings constructed in such a manner have rainwater harvesting structures, solar power plants, and kitchen wastewater treatment.

He has made a farmhouse for a retired vice admiral. It is 450 sq ft and has glass bottles for lights, jali bricks for natural ventilation, roofing with old used micro concrete roofing tiles. Also, gravel that was dug up was used as a foundation. Only about 30 bags of cement were used for the entire project.

In 2019, he built an office room at Kadakola using waste construction materials. He has also planned to start a waste-to-resource project, with Susthira, an NGO, and Mysuru City Corporation. Government authorities can work with him to address construction debris issues in Mysuru and set an example to everyone.

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