With the eruption of the Taal Volcano still ongoing, ashes are still being belched out by the volcano—affecting Batangas and nearby provinces such as Laguna and Cavite. The excessive amount of hazardous ashes, which the Department of Health says has adverse health effects, has become a concern among those living in these provinces.
According to reports, workers have been cleaning the ashes that have fallen on roads since the eruption started—but until now, they’re still not done. The ashes have turned into a major problem among residents and health and disaster officers. It comes as when the volcanic ash is left to solidify, it turns into a cement-like consistency which makes it difficult to clean up.
One of the cities that are experiencing the effects of the Taal eruption is Biñan, Laguna. However, unlike in other areas, the city has come up with a rather useful solution to deal with the problem: They are collecting the ashes and are turning them into eco-bricks (building blocks made of recycled materials such as plastic products).
The city of Biñan has been producing eco-bricks out of plastic since 2016 for its waste intervention project. When the Taal eruption happened, Biñan City Mayor Arman Dimaguila instructed residents to collect the ashes and turn them over to the municipal office. Biñan City’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is in charge of creating the eco-bricks.
The eco-bricks will be used to construct a children’s facility in the city—as volcanic ash helps make building blocks stronger, according to a research done at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
It isn’t the first time volcanic ash has been used to create bricks. In a 2011 report, an Argentine woman turned ash from the Puyehue eruption into bricks. Indeed, there is a silver lining in disasters such as volcanic eruptions.