Maharashtra has planned to make roads using plastic waste in cities. Taking a cue from the Centre, it has decided on a pilot road construction project using shredded plastic.
“The initial target of the Public Works Department (PWD) is to construct 100 kilometre of roads in and around cities using this new technology,” said a senior state PWD official.
“It will not only help dispose off plastic waste, but studies have shown that plastic can insulate tar from water. It will help in preventing damage to roads due to rainfall. So, we have decided to focus on urban areas because roads here are more prone to wear and tear,” he added.
For now, the government has decided to use disposable plastic in road construction in all the municipal corporations, having a population of more than five lakh, and the municipal councils, having a population of more than two lakh.
Regional offices have been instructed to use plastic waste for road work in a 50-kilometre radius of these areas.
Maharashtra generates at least 10,950 tonnes of plastic waste per year. It has 291 registered plastic manufacturing and recycling units, according to a report by Central Pollution Control Board.
According to the Centre’s guidelines, plastic waste such as carry bags and cups of a thickness of up to 60 micron, hard foam, soft foam and laminated plastic or aluminum-coated packaging material can be used for road construction.
Optimally, at least 8 per cent shredded plastic waste can be blended with bitumen.
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has encouraged the use of municipal waste in highway construction and various Union government departments have already used this technology. In a report submitted to the government, the organisation has claimed that roads built with plastic waste were of better quality and cheaper to construct.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked all states to use plastic in road construction during his regular video conferencing with the administrative heads of states, an exercise titled Pragati.
“After the Pragati video conference, the Maharashtra chief secretary issued orders to work out a plan to use plastic waste in tar roads,” said another PWD official.
Regional offices have been asked to ensure that all roads constructed with plastic waste turn out to be of a better quality than regular tar roads. There is a cost benefit involved too.
All roads built using plastic waste will be monitored for quality, every three months, and regional centres would send a comprehensive report to the state government at the end of one year, said the official.
By Manasi Phadke. Source: The Indian Express