Plastic may no longer be an eyesore for civic authorities, with the public works department (PWD) tying up with the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) in order to collect plastic waste for the purpose of constructing stronger and sturdier roads in the city.
The practice involves mixing and melting of shredded plastic with bitumen (used for road construction), after which the mixture is heated to temperatures up to 160 degrees Celsius. The resultant mixture is then used for tarring the road surfaces which are relatively stronger and cost-effective.
The PWD, as a pilot project, tarred a stretch of Kanak Chowk and Vikas Bhawan roads using plastic last September and is now gearing up to implement the project in the rest of the city.
“We have held talks with the civic body, which has agreed to provide us with plastic waste from the garbage it collects. We will soon begin the collection process and will start constructing the road once we have enough stock (of plastic waste),” PWD (zonal division) executive engineer Devendra Shah told HT.
Shah said that efforts were being made to rope in rag-pickers of the city so that plastic waste collected by them too can be procured for the purpose.
“We have already bought the machine for shredding plastic waste. We will also appeal to residents to bring forth plastic waste generated from their households to us directly,” he said.
Tarring one km of road will require around one ton of plastic waste. This will also reduce the requirement of bitumen by at least 10%, saving approximately `40,000 per kilometre.
City mayor Vinod Chamoli said that the civic body had agreed to pitch in for the project in “larger public interest”, as according to municipal estimates, around 20 to 30% of the 300 metric ton-plus solid waste generated in the state capital per day comprises plastic waste.
“We have been trying to deal with this issue (of plastic waste management) since a long time now, but haven’t been able to achieve very promising results, partly owing to a lack of awareness among locals,” the mayor said.
“We will provide the plastic waste to the PWD after initial segregation (of mixed garbage). The quantity of segregated plastic will increase once our proposed plant at Shishambara (on city’s outskirts) becomes functional,” said Kailash Gunjyal, senior municipal health officer of the DMC.
In June 2015, Himachal Pradesh additional secretary Rakesh Kapoor had given a presentation to the Dehradun district administration and civic authorities on sustainable plastic waste management in the neighbouring state, where over 350 km roads have been successfully tarred using plastic.
However, not all are enthusiastic by the move. A section of Doon residents expressed doubts about whether the process will sustain in the city. “The Doon civic body has failed to ensure segregation of plastic waste over the years. We fear that the implementation of the project may suffer in the absence of effective segregation of waste,” said Satya Pal Mehta, president of Rajendra Nagar Residents’ Welfare Society.