Deepa H. Ramakrishnan

When soft drink bottles made of plastic are recycled, they are normally crushed. However, children of Sevalaya's Mahakavi Bharathiyar Higher Secondary School from Kasuva village in Thiruvallur district have created art out of these bottles and other wastes.

They have made around 800 birds using empty pet and soft drink bottles, discarded newspapers, gift wrappers and colour paper.

‘Flying towards a better future,' an exhibition of their work was on display till last month at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture, Alwarpet.

Children were guided by a community arts facilitator, Charlotte Chapman, from the U.K. to make the birds and other items, including flowers, leaves, decorative hangings, cups, toy tables and chairs, and toy trains.

“It is a simple design with a bit of cutting and a staple but each one is different. Children have also come up with their own ideas while making the birds and they were proud of their creations,” she explained.

M. Narayanan, a student of Class IX, who stays at Sevalaya's hostel, said that initially it took some time to make the birds but after the second one, it was like a piece of cake.

“I told my mother Shanthi, who works as a domestic help in Chennai, over phone about the birds and she said she will see them during her next visit.”

S. Geethanjali, S. Thilagavathi, V. Soundarya, S. Sonia, P. Pavithra, M. Umamaheshwari, C. Maheswari and C. Saritha let their imagination run riot and made bangles, earrings and necklaces from pieces of plastic bottles.

Some of them even wore the ‘junk jewellery' they made.

“This is a nice pastime for us. The next time we buy a soft drink, we will not throw the bottle. We will make plastic jewellery out of it,” the children said.

V. Muralidharan of Sevalaya said that the bottles had been collected over a period of seven weeks from the surrounding villages.

“We normally collect garbage from the nearby villages, segregate it and hand over the plastics to the Exnora,” he said.