If I tell you the plastic you carry daily when buying vegetable, grocery, stationery, shampoo bottles and pouches are processed to make a ROAD!! YES. You read that right. We can turn plastics into roads. Padma Shri Rajagopalan Vasudevan came up to spray dry, shredding plastic waste, made up of a small piece of plastic. He is known to be the 'Plastic Man of India', Rajagopalan has reused plastic waste and to make durable roads. The "Plastic man of India" came up with the innovative way of disposing plastic waste and converting into plastic waste roads.
The rate of waste production is tremendous. We must focus on the recycling of these wastes. Because of the rapid increase in population, vast industrialisation, technological development, the rate of production of waste has increased. India generates nearly 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste daily stepping up on the 15th position of the plastic polluter. Most of the plastic can be recycled, the rest is being dumped, ultimately killing aquatic life.
India has adopted an innovative way of technology building roads out of plastic waste. Utilising plastic waste into roads solves pollution. Plastic roads comprise 6-8 per cent of plastic waste and mix with the bitumen.
December 2019, India has built 21,000 miles of the road using plastic waste. India till now has almost 33,700km plastic roadways, which means 1km road uses 1 million plastic waste in India. Chennai is the first city to adopt the technology with the massive approach with the municipality, in 2004 with 1000 km of a road made of plastic waste. It will amaze you to hear Meghalaya, a small village where the village converted 430 kg of plastic waste into the road. Making the roads of plastic waste is by using bitumen mix. In India, cities like Pune, Mumbai, Surat, Indore, Delhi, and Lucknow have roads made of plastic waste.
Now lets quickly see the advantages of plastic roads.
First, while the familiar highway roads quality lasts for 5 years, roads made of plastic bitumen lasts for 10 years. The maintenance cost of the road is almost zero—no effect of radiation like UV rays. The strength, resistance to water and water stagnation is better with no potholes and no stripping.
India's Prime minister has urged citizens of India to eliminate single-use plastic, this way we can stop plastic pollution.
It's only possible when people start with improving waste collection system and start stressing over recycling of plastic waste rather than using single-use of plastic.
We can tackle this problem, by banning single-use plastic manufacturing of pouches of shampoo and conditioner, packet food, packaging of a parcel using plastic bags. Eco-friendly packaging is a better and sustainable alternative to plastic.
Written By: Hemangini Tiwari