Taking a leaf from a concept implemented in neighbouring state Himachal Pradesh, the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) is mulling the possibility of putting to use plastic waste generated here for tarring roads and to rid the state capital of polythene menace. The practice involves mixing and melting of shredded plastic with bitumen (mixture used for road surfacing) to make relatively stronger and cost-effective road surfaces.
City mayor Vinod Chamoli has asked DMC officials to identify a patch of road in the city to test the viability of using plastic to tar roads. “I have asked the officials to select a road to check the feasibility of such a project on a pilot basis,” Chamoli told HT, adding that the test would be conducted after the monsoons.
In June, additional secretary Rakesh Kapoor, Himachal Pradesh government, had given a presentation to district administration and civic authorities on sustainable plastic waste management in HP where over 350 km of roads have been successfully tarred using plastic. The project has also won the Prime Minister’s Award for the State under Good Governance Practices.
Dehradun produces around 300 metric tons of garbage per day, of which at least 15% is said to be plastic waste. Poor implementation of the polythene ban at the city-level has only made the matters worse. “If we find the concept suitable for us, we will be able to put the plastic waste to some good use,” the mayor said, adding that agencies like the public works department will also be engaged in the testing.
According to ‘Sustainable Plastic Waste Management in Himachal Pradesh’ report, plastic waste is first collected and segregated followed by its shredding and subsequent mixing with bitumen, after which the mixture is heated to temperatures up to 160 degree Celsius.
Approximately one ton of plastic waste is used in tarring one kilometre of road, replacing 10% of bitumen in the process.
Tar mixed bitumen roads are said to have more strength and longevity than conventional bitumen roads with comparatively lesser wear and tear, especially during monsoons, said Kapoor.
“It also saves over `40,000 per km (by replacing bitumen with plastic),” Kapoor told HT, adding that consumption of plastic will also prevent frequent choking of drains in Doon caused by clogged polythene bags.
Experts are looking forward to the testing and subsequent implementation of the eco-friendly concept in Doon. Waste management expert and co-founder of Waste Warriors organization Jodie Underhill said using plastic to make roads should be made ‘mandatory’ across the country as it would provide a solution for non-recyclable plastic.
Rajendra Singh Gusain, a consultant civil engineer based in Dehradun, said using plastic with tar tends to increase the resistance of roads to heavy rainfall and water stagnation. “Increased durability will prevent the frequent wearing and tearing of roads,” he said.