Besieged Syrians Extract Fuel from Plastic


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Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria

Syrians in the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta have found an innovative way to turn plastic waste into petrol in light of a fuel shortage in the deprived neighborhood. While this fascinating process produces a desperately needed resource, it is also a very dirty and polluting. Toxic smoke from burning plastic engulfs the little courtyard where the fuel is produced and is leading to respiratory problem amongst the men in charge of the project.

The price of one liter of gasoline in the besieged eastern Ghouta, in rural Damascus, varies between 2500-4000 Syrian Pounds.
The price of one liter of diesel is 2000 Syrian Pounds, which led the civilians to extract fuel from plastic, which caused the price of the liter to decrease to half the price.
The extracting method consists of putting the plastic in sealed barrels through which a water pipe to passes through for cooling purposes. Then a fire is lit underneath the barrels which allows the Methane to be released first, then gasoline, and finally diesel.
There are many types of extracted fuel and the determining factor for the type of fuel released is the type of plastic used.

Various shots show the fuel extracting method.
Shots of the fire lit underneath the barrels, the cooling pipe, and the different types of plastic.
Obtaining diesel and fuel, which are similar in color, in addition to gas, which is not useful at the current time.
General shots of the stands where fuel is sold.


Speakers: Abu Hassan, a plant owner
Nabil, owns a shop for selling fuel Abu Yasser, owns a shop for selling fuel

"Here we have the filtration process, we are turning fuel into diesel, and we are turing plastic into gasoline, diesel and oil. We are extracting gas for domestic use. The whole process is about boiling and filtering, from hot to cold. It is a basic procedure."

"One kilogram of plastic can produce 800 grams of liquid, gasoline and diesel."

"Gasoline reached the price of 4000-4200 Syrian Pounds ($20-$21), and the amounts available were minimal. However, we found a substitute by heating plastic and extracting methane, gasoline, and diesel."

"The price of diesel was 3200-3500 Syrian Pounds ($16-$18.50) per liter, which is considered very expensiv. So people were no longer able to purchase it, but after we started operating on plastic and started extracting diesel from it, the price decreased to 1200-1500 SP and it became more available."