COLOMBO: A new vocational training centre is coming up for the differently-abled in Sri Lanka by two apparel sector giants, Sri Lanka’s Brandix Group and the UK’s Marks & Spencer along with other suppliers to Marks & Spencer in Sri Lanka.
The bricks made from primary sludge generated by industrial waste conversion will be used for construction of the training centre. The first consignment of these unique bricks developed and produced by Brandix Finishing at Ratmalana after extensive research and testing, have been donated to Rehab Lanka by Brandix for the construction of a two storied training centre cum workshop near the Khettarama Cricket Stadium. The project is funded by Marks & Start, the flagship community programme of Marks & Spencer.
Made out of primary sludge, used pumice stones and silica waste from the sand used for sandblasting during the garment washing, dyeing and finishing processes at Brandix Finishing, these solid bricks have a compressive strength of 3.2 Newtons per square millimetre, more than double that of the standard concrete blocks used in construction.
Significantly, the cost of production per brick is just Rs 14 which is more than two and a half times lower than the Rs 37 at which concrete blocks of the same size are retailed in the market.
A large volume of primary sludge is generated in the garment washing industry, and this project enables to recycle most of it and contribute to the preservation of the environment. Pumice stones decay during the washing process and come to the wastewater stream along with silica silt and pebbles. The silica silt and the pebbles of pumice stones form a major part of the primary sludge settled during the physical treatment process. To produce the bricks, the pumice pebbles are separated from the primary sludge, crushed and re-mixed with the sludge, waste sand some cement.
60 per cent of all the primary sludge generated by the plant and all of the used pumice stone and sandblast sand are utilized for brick making. The Rehab Lanka Training Centre, which will be the first building to be built with these bricks will comprise of a facility to train differently-abled people in the operation of sewing machines and a workshop for the fabrication of wheel chairs and other aides for the differently-abled.