The Good News: Week of Feb. 22


Credit: Elizabeth Zhong

In these days, we are all in desperate need of some good news. So, join WSPN’s Alyssa Dickstein as she shines light on one piece of cheerful news every week.

The media is too often flooded with bad news. The daily news cycle pushes headlines of devastation and destruction rather than togetherness or kindness. In a world where our phones alert us every time news breaks, wouldn’t it be better if this news made us smile rather than contemplate throwing our phones across the room? Through its column “The Good News,” WSPN’s Alyssa Dickstein tries to counteract all this bad news with a weekly story that boasts good news. Hopefully, you’ll smile and renew a little bit of your faith in the world as you read along.

The construction industry is one of the largest contributors to the global air pollution crisis. In order to counteract this issue, two global initiatives, Carbon Craft Design in India and Gjenge Makers in Kenya, have engineered sustainable, nearly 100% recycled building materials.

Carbon Craft Design’s innovative technology extracts black carbon from the atmosphere and engineers it into building tiles, in effect simultaneously clearing the air of pollutants and recycling. To create the tiles, the company powders the extracted black carbon and combines it with cement and marble waste from local quarries. Another company, Gjenge Makers, has also recently made strides towards sustainability with its plastic waste bricks. Reuters reports that these multi density polyethylene bricks are five to seven times stronger than concrete. What is polyethylene? It’s anything from the light-density plastic of sandwich bags to the high-density plastic of flip flops. Since virtually any form of plastic waste can be incorporated into the bricks, Gjenge Makers has seen a significant decrease in area plastic pollution since opening the doors of its factory in 2017.

“I was tired of being on the sidelines,” the Gjenge Makers founder said.

There are countless benefits to this technology. Among them, slowing global warming, purifying air quality and improving public health.

Reducing air pollution + Recycling = Good news

Today’s stories come from CNN’s article “This company is making building tiles out of polluted air” and Reuters’ article “Kenyan recycles plastic waste into bricks stronger than concrete.”