Sri Lanka is a country that has seen a boom in the production of bamboo house decorations.
A series of small workshops has been set up in major cities across the country to provide bamboo homes for tourists, and it’s now being replicated across the island.
The bamboo houses have become a popular holiday item, with many locals flocking to the capital, Colombo, to buy them.
Some are even selling them as souvenirs.
Some residents, however, have had enough.
“It’s a shame, it’s like a new world,” says Tamsin D’Bate.
“We have come here and this is a new culture, and this has nothing to do with our culture, it is our own.
I’ve been coming here for a long time and now I feel sad.”
This year, he says, he has lost his job and he’s had to move to another city.
The owner of the workshop told him he would have to pay up to R60,000 ($1,200) to have it cleaned up, but he was unwilling to take the offer.
The bamboo houses are painted in bright colours and have a strong smell.
Some people have bought them to make their homes look more ‘bamboos’.
But it’s the bamboo houses themselves that have become controversial.
“I love it, I think it’s very beautiful, and I want to make a home for my family, but I don’t know how to do it.
I’m so scared,” says D’Beaton.
A few people have started to complain online.
One woman told The Times that she had to sell her house because she didn’t have the money to pay for the bamboo.
But many others are not happy about the practice.
“I don’t want to live in a house made of bamboo.
It’s just not the right thing to do.
We live in the jungle, we have no space,” says one woman, who also wanted to remain anonymous.
Some locals have even gone to the police and threatened to set up a protest outside the workshop.
One man told the newspaper he has been selling the bamboo homes in Colombo for decades, but it’s only recently that he started to get concerned.
He had a wooden hut in the village where he grew up, he said, and he had been looking for a new place to live.
He had bought a bamboo house in Colombia but had to pay a huge R70,000 fee to get the land cleared.
Then he found out that the owner was an illegal immigrant who came to the island in the 1980s.
“He was here illegally and he was living on the land,” he said.
When he went to see the owner, he was shocked by what he found.
“What do you think of me doing this?” he asked the man.
“The bamboo is my home and I’ve paid for it,” he replied.
“No, no, no.”
“What do I do now?
I can’t leave, I have to come here,” he pleaded.
After two months, the owner agreed to get rid of the house, but after a while he realised the bamboo house had been a nuisance.
D’Beatin says that when he visited the house in August, the only thing he saw was the wooden hut.
“My house is now completely destroyed,” he says.
There’s been no response from the owner to the newspaper’s request for comment.
However, the bamboo hut has become a huge draw for people, many of whom are staying for the summer.
One of them, Tamboli, is from Kambalee, a village near the village of Nangakkara.
She and her husband have been buying bamboo homes and buying them up every week.
She has also bought her own bamboo home to sell to tourists.
Tamboli’s husband is the owner of a bamboo hut in Kambalangara.
He told The Sunday Times that the bamboo home was his idea and that he had to clean it up because of the illegal immigrants who were living there.
In one case, a woman living in a bamboo home in Kumbayala, near the town of Tirunelveli, was threatened by an illegal migrant who had bought her bamboo home.
She was scared, so she took her two young children to buy a house in the city of Tirupati.
Now she and her family are trying to clean up the land and renovate the house.
“They’re not even going to buy the house for free, they are giving it to us for free,” she said.