Living conditions in Gaza are harsh, with 180,000 houses destroyed by bombing. Building materials are also blockaded by the Israelis so Gazans don't have much to work with. One thing they do have is ash from the coal fired power plants.
Two Gazan women, Majid al-Mashrawi and Rawan Abdellatif, have taken on this combination of challenges and are breaking new ground in the world of construction. They have created an affordable, high quality, lightweight, environmentally friendly building brick called GreenCake. The material is made of ash and cement and isolates sound, extreme temperatures and fire. It’s named GreenCake because it is actually – literally and figuratively – green, and has a spongy texture, just like a cake.
They note that " from an environmental point of view, reusing ash helps protect the groundwater, as it would have otherwise seeped into it." I do hope that the heavy metals and other contaminants in the ash are bound up tight, it's not benign stuff. But it certainly is better than nothing. More at INDEX: Design To Improve Life