FROM ASHFALL TO BRICKS: Biñan City turns volcanic ash into bricks » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle

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FROM ASHFALL TO BRICKS: Biñan City turns volcanic ash into bricks

What many consider as a threat and health hazard has been put into good use.

Updated

By Angela Casco

The Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) of Biñan, Laguna has used the volcanic ash spewed by Taal Volcano to produce bricks.

In a Facebook post, the Biñan City Information Office has shared images of the bricks fresh out of a brick-making machine in what looks like a makeshift factory. 

Kaya kailangan nating isako ang mga ito at hindi makabara sa ating mga kanal (This is why we need to sack these [ashes] so it won’t clog the city’s canals),” writes Biñan City mayor Arman Dimaguila in a separate Facebook post, along with the hashtag, #BayanihanSaBinan

Volcanic ash, when mixed with water, turns to mud and settles like cement, according to New Zealand government’s earth and science research institute, GNS Science. 

In 2018, a research collaboration between scientists from Kuwait and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found that volcanic ash can be an alternative and natural additive in manufacturing cement, which also happens to be the world’s most abundantly used material after water. Not only does this lessen energy consumption in producing concrete, it also lowers the carbon footprint of any building development. 

The use of volcanic material in building and construction is not new in the country. Architect Royal Pineda and designer Budji Layug of BUDJI+ROYAL Architecture+Design have used lahar from Mt. Pinatubo as concrete finish at New Clark City’s Aquatics Center and Athletics Stadium, which hosted the recently-concluded 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. 

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