Several states have attempted to curb the problem of plastic through various bans, which have unfortunately been less than successful. In November 2015, the Centre made it compulsory to use waste plastic in construction of roads.
As reported, Rajagopalan Vasudevan, Professor of Chemistry, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, has however come up with a solution for the much debated plastic problem. He experimented with bituminous mixes and plastic and proposed the idea of using waste plastic in road construction.
Vasudevan has reportedly said that his technology can be used for all types of roads including national highways. He also advocates the use of central mixing plants for this endeavour claiming that it will help in having better control over the temperature and better mixing for a uniform coating.
News reports reveal that his formula has been successfully used to construct a road inside Thiagarajar College, which later received favourable responses from state governments. The new technology will be used in construction of over 1 lakh km of road across 11 states. Between 2015 and 2016, the National Rural Road Development Agency constructed nearly 7,500 km of roads using plastic waste.
Some objections were raised by environmentalists who were worried that constructing roads with plastic could lead to more pollution as plastics release toxic fumes once heated. But as Vasudevan has reportedly clarified, plastic releases toxic gas only when heated beyond 270oC but the technology employed for road construction never exceeds 170oC – so it’s completely safe.
Using plastics in the road construction process will reportedly reduce spending as 10 per cent of bitumen is saved in the process. The process also doubles the strength of roads and roads constructed using this technology can last more than 10 years without maintenance.