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Home hack to fight COVID-19

Got 1.5-liter plastic bottles piled in your homes? Use it to create DIY masks.

Care Balleras



PUP faculty creating localized ethyl alcohol. / Photograph courtesy of Polytechnic University of the Philippines

Filipinos always find a way to circumvent an unfortunate situation. From finding a way to smile during calamities, we now creatively fight against the scarcity of materials brought by the sudden COVID-19 outbreak.

Instead of being hysterical because of the inadequacy of masks, personal protective equipment and sanitation areas, great minds have provided solutions out of things we can easily find in our communities.

Masks out of used
bottles and cloth
Got 1.5-liter plastic bottles piled in your homes? Use it to create DIY masks. Learning from John Tan, we can easily create a mask that can protect us from eyes to mouth.

First, separate the trunk of the bottle from its bottom. Make sure to use a visible marker to accurately cut it. Then insert a clean cloth in the separated bottom part for this will serve as your airway. Connect it to the trunk using a masking tape. Voila! You now have a durable mask to protect you from any harmful fluids.

If you do not have bottles, clean used garments can also come in handy to create masks like the conventional ones. All you need to do is some cutting to suit your face shape and stitching it to form a mask.

Local ethyl alcohol
We never thought it would come to a point when disinfectants are like luxury items. Grocery shelves designated for alcohols are now empty and some online sellers seem to be taking advantage of the scarcity with a surge in prices.

However, we can now simmer down our worries as faculty from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) has made a local version of ethyl alcohol.

Last 11 March, PUP Institute for Science and Technology Research developed the alcohol while following the standards of the Food and Drug Administration.

Some 20 gallons of alcohol may be produced every month as soon as the materials for mass production become available. This means a 70-percent savings compared to purchasing commercial ones.

The alcohol will reportedly be distributed to local government units as a means to curb the virus spread in communities with a deficiency in disinfectants.

Easy-to-build sanitation tents
Despite the enhanced community quarantine, there are individuals who still need to go out because of duty. Their vulnerability heightens because not all areas have sanitation tents.

This problem led to the formation of SaniTents PH. With a virtual team of 80+ comprised of industrial engineers, scientists and journalists from the University of the Philippines, the project is in the process of creating an easy-to-build sanitation tent design.

And since money is a perennial problem, the group wisely made a design that make use of household materials that may be upcycled.

COVID-19 sanitation tent design. / Photographs Courtesy of SanitentsPH

In a statement, SaniTents PH founder August Patacsil, an industrial engineer, said, “We are doing our best to serve the people, free of charge. This is to help our health workers who are dealing with the pandemic and we’re doing our best to contribute something —- and it’s moving as planned while taking part in the public mandate of staying at home.”

The entire project is a collective effort that sparked from Patacsil’s post in Overheard at UP Facebook page. The overwhelming support from students, professionals and LGU pushed the initiative to fruition.

In the upcoming weeks, a free sanitation tent design can be used by households and local governments.

Creativity and collaboration may really go a long way especially during times of crisis.

Let us do our part by relaying these genius ideas.

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