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Roads built from plastic trash – India


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INDIA produces about 15,000 tons of plastic waste daily, of which about 9,000 tons are re­cycled. The remainder clutters landfills and clogs drains, and is blamed for urban flooding.

Rajagopalan Vasudevan, an Indian scientist, and professor in Thiagarajar College of Engineer­ing, developed an innovative method of dealing with plastic pollution, by turning them into roads. He constructs better, more durable and very cost-effective roads. Plastic roads run more than 100,000 Km in India as of October 2017.

India’s plastic roads made from recycled materials are not only greener, but are also stronger and maintenance-free and durable against extreme weather- floods and extreme heat. They could last about three times longer than conventional road structures, according to new research. Plastic roads will not only withstand future mon­soon damage but will also solve the problem of disposing of non-recyclable plastic. It also created jobs. Waste pickers who collect plastic litter can earn enough money for the day.

Each kilometer of a single-lane tar road can consume one tone of plastic waste. Plastic waste, mostly water or soda bottles, are first sorted. After sorting, the material is cleaned, dried and shredded. The shred­ded plastic is mixed and melted at around 170°C. Hot bitumen is then added and mixed with the melted plastic. After mixing the mixture is laid as one would with regular asphalt concrete.

In Holland, a construction services firm also wants to roll out plastic roads. Their idea involves recycling plastic waste into lightweight, prefabricated modules with hollow interiors that can be fitted with cables and plastic pipes and allow excess water to drain. The pre-fabricated units will be easy to transport, assemble and maintain, and the lighter weight, it also means the ground will be less prone to subsidence.