Signals mixed on Recovery Road
Traffic is crawling back and with it, the recovery prospects of the roads sector. July 2020
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MORTH) is encouraging the use of waste plastic in highway construction, especially on National Highways (NH) within a 50-km periphery of urban areas with a population of 0.5 million or more. A stretch of road has recently been constructed using waste plastic on NH-48 near Dhaula Kuan. Portions of the Delhi-Meerut expressway and Gurugram-Sohna road have also been planned for construction using plastic waste.
In fact, plastic waste has already been used in wearing courses of NH construction on a pilot basis in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The technology used is in compliance with the guidelines of Indian Roads Congress (IRC) for the use of waste plastic in hot bituminous mixes in wearing courses. Construction of 1 km of a four-lane highway can help dispose about 7 tonne of waste plastic.
On the preparation of the guidelines being used as a framework for the construction of the highways, SK Nirmal, Secretary-General, IRC, says, “IRC prepared ‘Guidelines for the Use of Waste Plastic in Hot Bituminous Mixes (Dry Process) in Wearing Courses (IRC:SP:98)’ in 2013. The document was an outcome of a number of successful pilot projects completed in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Delhi. The same was also corroborated in a MoRTH-sponsored research scheme (R-85). After the publication of the IRC document, many road projects using waste plastic have been completed under PMGSY. MoRTH had also issued ‘Guidelines for Use of Waste Plastic in Bituminous Wearing Courses’ within 50-km periphery of an urban area, having a population of more than 5 lakh. The document envisages the use of waste plastic at 6-8 per cent of the weight of the bitumen depending on the climatic conditions of high or low rainfall areas. This should address some of the problems of safe and meaningful disposal of waste plastic, which is otherwise a serious environmental problem.”
Additionally, the ministry has mobilised nearly 26,000 people across the country to spread awareness on plastic waste management. Over 61,000 hours of shramdaan have been given to collect plastic waste, resulting in the collection of nearly 18,000 kg of waste plastic throughout the country.
Under its ‘Swachhta Hi Sewa’ initiative, the Government of India has launched an awareness drive to curb the use of plastic by discouraging the use of plastic water bottles, installing dustbins for collection of segregated waste, and distributing cloth and jute bags.