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The Government has made it mandatory for road developers to mix plastic waste in the construction of roads in urban areas. Plastic waste disposal is an ever piling menace. Did you know that Delhi alone produces 7000 tonnes of plastic waste in a day!
According to the Supreme Court of India, we are sitting on a plastic bomb. Plastic is non-biodegradable and some varieties cannot be safely recycled. The technique developed by Professor R Vasudevan, Professor of Chemistry at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, is being used to mix plastic waste such as waste plastic carry bags, cups and packaging of biscuits, chips and chocolates with bitumen to construct roads.
How It Is Done
The waste plastic is first shredded. The aggregate mix and bitumen are then heated to 160 degrees Celsius, after which the shredded plastic is added. The resultant mixture delivers a more durable water resistant road. A ten percent by weight plastic waste is added to bitumen – this lowers the quantity of bitumen used and also prevents the waste plastic from filling up landfills or clogging up drains.
What Are The Pros?
Plastic mixed roads will cost lower than 100 percent bitumen roads. This process is eco-friendly as well, as no toxic fumes are released.
An internal road in the same college constructed in 2002 has been going strong till date. Around 15 kms of roads using this technique have been constructed in Jamshedpur.
Prof Vasudevan has been nicknamed ‘Plastic Man of India’. He has developed a granite or ceramic stone block coated with plastic waste. It is called ‘Plastone’. Plastone is more durable and is highly non porous and hence water resistant. The best part about Plastone is that each block uses 300 plastic carry bags and around six PET bottles. Plastone blocks can be used for flooring and in places where water seepage needs to be prevented, such as canals and other water bodies.