Science Articles

THE USE OF PLASTIC IN ROADS IN INDIA

India’s clean initiative, also known as ‘Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan’, is increasing by leaps and bounds. India has become the third largest solar energy capacity in the world. With more and more emphasis laid on becoming green, India has now managed to build plastic roads.

India’s clean initiative, also known as ‘Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan’, is increasing by leaps and bounds. India has become the third largest solar energy capacity in the world. With more and more emphasis laid on becoming green, India has now managed to build plastic roads.

With this new development, the Government of India has taken the plastic road into serious consideration and is planning to make it mandatory to use plastic in road construction. This is an attempt to dispose off plastic effectively.

 

PLASTIC ROAD

Plastic has always been an important part of human life. Plastics are used for carrying stuff, for disposable culinary items etc. But since plastic cannot be decomposed easily, people have started replacing plastic with paper. Melting the plastic waste causes toxic flames and pollution.

Doctor Rajagopalan Vasudeva, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, understood the problem of plastic disposal and worked hard for developing this technology. He realised that banning the plastic won’t solve the issue of existent plastic materials in India. He experimented with various items to dispose of plastic.

In 2002, he used plastic waste in road construction inside his college campus by mixing heated bitumen with plastic waste and then coating it on a stone. The stretch of road functions perfectly even today. In 2006, the college acquired a patent for the technology.

 

THE PROCESS OF MAKING A PLASTIC ROAD

He used plastic waste items like cups, biscuit wrappers, carry bags, chocolate wrappers, packaging stuff etc. and shredded them into pieces by machine. The temperature needed to be monitored during the process. The aggregate mixture should be heated at 165oC. The bitumen should be heated at 160oC for binding purposes.

The shredded pieces of plastic are then mixed with the aggregate which takes about 1 minute for a uniform coating. Hot bitumen is now added to this mixture. A roller of 8 tons is used for the road while the road laying temperature varies from 110oC to 120oC.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Implementing the use of plastic for road construction serves a lot of purposes like-

  • Reduction in the use of bitumen
  • Easy disposal of plastic
  • Plastic increases the quality of pavements
  • Decrease in the wear and tear of roads
  • Eco-friendly roads without toxic pollutants
  • Roads tend to be more durable against harsh weather conditions