The government has made it mandatory for road developers to use waste plastic along with bituminous mixes for road construction to overcome the growing problem of disposal of plastic waste in India’s urban centres.
Road developers will now have to use waste plastic along with hot mixes for constructing bitumen roads within 50 km of periphery of any city that has a population of over five lakh. In recently released guidelines for developers, the government said that in case of non-availability of waste plastic, the developer has to seek the road transport & highways ministry’s approval for constructing only bitumen roads.
Urban local bodies, which are usually short of financial resources, can make money by selling the plastic waste generated by cities to road developers. They can signs memorandums of understanding with the road construction companies,” a senior government official said.
India generates 56 lakh tonne of plastic waste annually. As per a study by the Central Pollution Control Board, 60 large cities in India generate over 15,000 tonne of plastic waste every day. Delhi generates close to 7,000 tonne of waste every day, of which over 10 per cent is pure plastic but cannot be disposed even by waste-to-energy plants because of environmental reasons.
In an observation earlier this year, the Supreme Court had said that the country was sitting on a plastic time bomb.
Plastic will add to the longevity of roads by making them water resistant and also increasing the resistance of roads to change in weather.
The government expects this measure to bring down the cost as well for road developers, from about Rs 10 crore for one km of road length at present.
“The cost factor is yet to be analysed, but it will be slightly less than 100 per cent bitumen,” the official said.
The ministry will also encourage state governments and rural development ministry to make use of plastic waste mandatory in construction of roads.
“The same technology can also be used for construction of rural roads as it will enhance their quality as well as longevity. These roads can have a plastic coating mixed with bitumen,” the official said.