Rise of The Planet of The Plastics
From waking up to a ringing plastic alarm, drinking water from a plastic bottle, carrying a plastic bag to storing food in plastic containers, plastic has become an inseparable integral part of our lives.
Adversaries always follow up with excessive utilities. Plastic garbage is proving to be a menace across the country, clogging drains, choking voiceless animals, soil degradation, plastic has had been beneath all. Furthermore, plastic can be recycled only 3-4 times, and the melting process releases highly toxic fumes.
Aimed to overcome the growing problem of plastic waste disposal the Government of India decided that all road developers in the country must use waste plastic, for road construction after the technology for this was developed by the ‘Plastic Man’ of India, Prof. Rajagopalan Vasudevan. He is a Professor of Chemistry at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai. He was awarded Padma Shree in 2018 for his immense contributions to science and society.
How Does It Work?
During the initiation, a shredding machine is used to shred the plastic waste to a particular size. The aggregate mix is then heated at 165°c and transferred to the mixing chamber, and the bitumen is heated to 160°c for good binding.
It takes 30 to 60 seconds for shredded plastic to get coated uniformly over the aggregate, giving an oily look. The resulting mix is then used for road construction. The road laying temperature lies between 110°c to 120°c. The roller used has a potential of 8 tons. For every kilo of stone, 50 gm of bitumen is used, and 1/10th of this is plastic waste. This initiative reduces the amount of bitumen used.
As per studies, the roads built from waste plastic can withstand extreme weather conditions as compared to the conventional roads. Also, plastic increases the aggregate impact value and enhances the quality of flexible pavements. The overall construction method is extremely eco-friendly, as it releases no toxic gases. With plastic, the roads are not as susceptible to disintegration and potholes as a conventional road because moving or stagnant water does not affect the surface.
Economically, plastic roads are cost-effective. Aloof the minimum cost of the shredding process, no new machinery is required, and the maintenance costs are almost nil.
Around The World on Plastic Roads
India has over 1,00,000 kilometres of roads constructed of plastic, with more regions actively joining in this initiative. Meanwhile, Prof. R Vasudevan’s techniques are being used by several nations across the globe. Indonesia, Netherlands, have constructed plastic roads with similar techniques. The United Kingdom has invested large amounts in further research in the area. Presently, trails are taking place in cities like London, Durham, and Gloucester.
WRITTEN BY:Chaitanya Kumar,Debasish Beria.