Kolkata Has Come Up With A Brilliant Plan To Rein In Its Plastic Menace And Build Better Roads

Plastic Roads In India

India, in last few decades have been struggling with its plastic waste and because of this several states have declared a blanket ban on plastic, but none of them can boast of much success. Knowing our dependency on plastic, Padma Shree Rajagopalan Vasudevan, Professor of Chemistry at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai came up with a brilliant idea of using waste plastic, along with bituminous mixes, to construct roads.

Along with it being cost effective, the roads made from waste plastic are also more durable against extreme weather conditions like floods and heat as compared to the conventional roads. Plastic is water-resistant and having it mixed with bitumen will strengthen the roads.

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Seeing the practicality and usability of this, in 2015, the government made it mandatory for road developers to use waste plastic along with bituminous mixes for road construction to overcome the plastic menace. So far India has built one lakh kilometers of roads in at least 11 states like Chennai, Maharashtra, MP, and Gujarat etc. using discarded plastic.  

New Addition To The List

The new addition to the list is Kolkata. The city of joy has too decided to experiment with plastic to make roads better in the city. As per the news published in The Times of India, as an experiment Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) has agreed to the use of plastic waste and bituminous mix for a kilometer long road stretch between City Centre and New Town. If the experiment is successful, the next step is to see if they can use the same method for road repairs.

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To derive a plan on use of plastic waste for road construction, HIDCO authorities will hold a meeting with the apex body of road-construction engineers, Indian Roads Congress as well as the Indian Plastic Federation.

Going by the trend, Kolkata has always experimented with finding out the most commercially viable way of constructing roads. In 1932, the government reportedly used jute to construct Strand Road, in Kolkata. Even recently flirted with the idea of using Jute - Geo-textile for laying roads, but that didn't work out.

Tricky Part

According to IIT Kharagpur's civil engineering department the tricky part is making the proper mixture of plastic waste and bitumen. 

A certain amount of crushed plastic waste will be first melted in high temperature, after which the melted plastic will be blended with the bitumen aggregator. This bituminous layer, blended with melted plastic waste will be used in the top layer of the road- a road construction expert to India Times.

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So far they feel that using polymer-modified bitumen for road repairs though durable, is still an expensive process.

Polymer-modified bitumen is a costly material and thus it is not used extensively for repairing city roads. It, however, gives more strength and normally lasts at least 10 to 15 years more than the normal bitumen-layered roads, the expert added.

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If the experiment is successful, not only with this be an important step towards reducing environmental pollution but also we could finally say good-bye to pothole ridden roads, India is famous for.  

Photo Source: in.reuters; BanegaSwachhIndia; IndiaTimes; TheHindu; WBXpress



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