Mandatory use of Plastic Waste on NH roads

New Delhi : Ministry has issued guidelines for mandatory use of waste plastic in periodic renewal coat of pavement on National Highways and also in wearing course of service road within 50 km periphery of urban areas having population of 5 lakhs or more. Indian Roads Congress (IRC) has formulated guidelines for the use of waste plastic in hot bituminous mixes for wearing courses. So far, 703 km length of NHs have been constructed using waste plastic in wearing course in the country. Cost of the projects are estimated considering all inputs such as material, machinery and manpower. 

This information was given by Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

Falling in line with the central government’s flagship project Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the ministry of road transport and highways has taken the initiative to utilise waste plastic, which otherwise is not recyclable, in roads and highway construction. Till now the central government has already constructed 1 lakh km of road by using plastic waste and plans to double it in this financial year.

The revolution of plastic waste roads started brewing in 2015 when the Centre made it mandatory for all road developers in the country to use plastic waste for road construction. In 2016, Union minister Nitin Gadkari had announced the initiative. Since then, the government has utilised the waste plastic in constructing one lakh kilometre of road in 11 states. 

Central govt saves Rs 30,000 per km

According to the report, earlier for every one kilometre of road construction, 10 tonnes of bitumen was being used. After the central government came up with this initiative, 9 tonnes of bitumen and 1 ton of wasted plastic is being utilised to construct every 1 km of road. Which means that by introducing this methodology, the central government is saving one-tonne bitumen per kilometre, the cost of which is Rs 30,000.

The process of building roads by utilising recycled waste of plastic was conceptualised by Padma Sri Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a professor from Madurai’s Thiagarajar College of Engineering. According to the professor, fondly known as the ‘Plastic Man Of India’, plastic waste roads can prevent potholes. They are more durable against extreme weather conditions like floods and heat as compared to the conventional roads.

How it works

  • The civic bodies of each city are first required to collect all the city’s wasted plastic and put them through three tasks – cleaning, drying and shredding. The plastic waste can include anything from sweet wrappers to shopping bags.
  • The plastic waste plant shreds the waste into 4mm pieces
  •  Next, the shredded pieces are added to the bitumen mix, which is also heated at 160°c. The final mix is used for constructing roads.
  • The mix is combined with tar and coal and used to construct roads.

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