Bangalore’s plastic crisis, alleviated by plastic roads

Bangalore transport

Waste plastic can be used as a  binder modifier as it is resistant to distortion and water-induced damage on the roads.

Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has to construct  the roads using plastic waste, even the white top cement roads and most of the road contractors are not aware of the technology.

Mohammad, road contractor at Geo Construction, said “We don’t use plastic waste made bitumen to construct roads. To use that technique we have to invest a heavy amount to get that machinery plus we need to hire engineers who are aware of this method.”

Plastic-made roads are more efficient than traditional roads.. Bengaluru alone generates roughly 3,500 tonnes of waste every day, thin plastic waste accounts for 100 tonnes of it. Only 25 percent of the waste is recycled and the rest is discarded in landfills or burned, adding to greenhouse gas emissions.

Rasool Khan, Director at KK Plastic Waste Management, said, “We use plastic waste as bitumen but are still experimenting to use plastic waste for white top cement roads. The new technology at our firm can utilize 30 metric tons of plastic waste for one kilometer road.”

Earlier the Public Works Department (PWD) had given instructions to use plastic waste in road construction.

According to a BBMP report(link is not working), waste-based roads do not develop cracks and provide a smooth riding surface with better durability even after two years of construction.

Khan said that, “following the success of the project in Bangalore, the civic bodies of Calcutta and Delhi have begun discussions with us. Plastic roads have gained support from the National Rural Road Development Agency, which recommended using waste plastic in the construction of roads in rural India as well. Till now we have built 4,000 kilometers of road all over India.”

A research by Dr. R. Vasudevan found that, waste-based roads are more easy and cheap to construct when compared to other road-building methods. A study  said that burning plastic to make material for road building also emits persistent organic pollutants that are harmful for environment and health.

The plastic roads can maximize air pollution because of burning the waste. Dr. Hardikar says, “Even a single exposure to this sort of smoking can exacerbate persons with lung disorders like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.”

Shashi Kumar, a road contractor said “Using waste plastic in roads as bitumen creates a lot of pollution. Burning the plastic for making bitumen creates smoke that may affect workers health. Therefore we don’t prefer to use it. There are machines to melt plastic which won’t create smoke but those are expensive.”

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