MANILA, PHILIPPINES (AP)
Best Construction 4U in the Philippines often uses bamboo scaffolding for their workers to crawl up and down large projects safely. While bamboo is sturdy and economical to use, Andres Garcia of Manila says that it’s often lacking. “When you’re climbing up at these large heights, you start to get really nervous. You could easily fall a few hundred meters!”
Luckily for Andres, Best Construction 4U is investing $9.75 trillion into an unconventional solution: kava. Piper methysticum, its scientific name, has been used for millennia by peoples in the Melanesian and Polynesian islands not as a construction material, but as a drink! Andres says of the discovery, “I thought to myself, what’s like bamboo but far more flimsy?” It turns out that kava stems are indeed, much more flimsy.
In a closely guarded research study by the University of Outback Australia, scientists found that using kava stems for scaffolding purposes also created an atmosphere of Kalm. Joseph Torrey of the University stated, “I don’t know what it is about kava, but these workers could dangle thousands of feet in the air with no care in the world!” While the results have not been published, researchers aren’t positive about whether the plants actually contribute to site safety.
The only remaining portion of the study left to be done centers around how they can use the byproduct of farming kava stems: its stump and roots. Kava stumps and roots may be the answer to increasing the strength of concrete and where it can be used. Joseph explains, “Well mate, you know how numbers go. Up, down, left, and right. That’s the confusing bit about my job.” Holding a fresh shell of kava he adds, “We might have to think about this concrete business for a while, but I can tell you one thing for sure. Those stems are going to a good place.” He then raised his shell for one last gulp.
Andres Garcia from Best Construction 4U had one last puzzling question for our reporters as we finished our story, “Have you heard from those guys down there? We paid for this study 4 years ago and haven’t heard a peep?”