25,940 tonnes of plastic is generated in India on a daily basis. Union Environment Ministry states that 60% of this plastic gets recycled however the remaining 40% is left open in the environment. The rest gets dumped in landfills, clogs drains, goes into the ocean as micro-plastics, or is burnt, leading to air pollution.This is the very reason why we need to find strategies for proper plastic waste management.
In the absence of a proper waste management system, the plastics that get recycled are often dirty, which makes the re-cycling process water-intensive and expensive.
The Indian Government has started to work in the direction of managing plastic properly. One such strategy is using plastic waste to make roads.
Plastic roads are different from standard roads in the respect that standard roads are made from asphalt concrete, which consists of mineral aggregates and asphalt.The roads also show greater resistance to damages caused by heavy rains.
According to Hindustan Publication, one lakh kilometre road all over the country has been constructed using plastic waste. For constructing one kilometre of road nine tonnes of bitumen and one tonne of plastic waste is require. This means for every kilometre of road, one tonne bitumen is saved, which costs about Rs 30,000.Plastic roads consist of 6-8 per cent plastic, while 92-94 per cent is bitumen.
Since 2016 plastic waste has been used in constructing one lakh kilometre of road in 11 states. The stretch of Jayamahal Road near the TV Tower, Bengaluru, Karnataka, was arguably the first Indian road built using plastic waste.India’s first commercial experiment with building plastic roads was carried out in Bengaluru. That was in December 2002.
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) used plastic waste in its roads for the first time in 2018.
Other states that are using plastic waste for construction of roads include Assam and Jammu and kashmir. Plastic has been used in the 270-kilometre-long Jammu Kashmir National highway. About 1.6 tonne of plastic waste was used in the two-kilometre-long stretch of Delhi-Meerut highway news UP Gate.
Prof R Vasudevan, also known as “The Plastic Man” of India”, has his brain behind the idea of creating roads using plastic waste. He initiated the process. He wants to focus on making India a plastic waste free country. He rejected several offers ,from other prominent countries including America , to work with them in their countries. In an interview he stated that “Swacch Bharat is our first priority. We will first help India dispose of its waste material by spreading the message about the use of plastic waste in road construction and usage of plastone. Once we have made headway in almost every part of our country, we will share this technology with other countries.”