Solve the Bengaluru plastic waste problem one way at a time?

In 2002, when the concept of using plastic for road placement was first introduced in Bengaluru, it was considered as the solution to the city's growing solid waste problem, an important part of which is single-use plastic . BBMP hired a plastic waste management company based in the city to provide the required raw material, but over time the concept did not accelerate and was slowly eliminated, until now, when the Bengaluru airport authorities started a campaign to collect plastic to use on the roads established in their premises.

According to experts, roads mixed with plastic have multiple benefits, in addition to removing garbage from non-biodegradable waste. They have better wear resistance, do not absorb water, have greater flexibility, require less maintenance and allow smooth road surfaces. In fact, the technology has been extensively researched and used by Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a scientist who won a Padma Shri for his pioneering work in its implementation for the construction of roads in rural areas. Why then, one wonders, is it not more widely used in Bangalore, which has been dealing with a serious solid waste crisis?

The solid waste management expert, V Ramprasad, says: “The whole process, from segregation to cleaning, sorting and drying, involves huge costs, which was not an economically viable option for BBMP. Therefore, the use of plastic in the placement of roads was stopped. ”

Ahmed Rasool Khan, director of the plastic waste management company that previously worked with BBMP to supply plastic for road laying, adds: It is definitely not an economically viable business for the plastic waste industry and it is necessary to create a system in the that the government be involved and take the initiative to clean the country If there is a government will and there are adequate checks and balances, the plastic waste industry can also thrive.

Are plastic roads the future?

Yes, it is definitely the future, says Rajagopalan, known as Plastic Man of India, and adds: He is economically viable and socially relevant: he is the friend of a poor man. Plastic is a discovery of the 21st century, as is a mirror, glass, metal, etc. It's not plastic, but plastic waste that creates a problem and roads mixed with plastic are the answer to solve it. ” Why has it not taken off successfully? in Bengaluru, however? Rajagopalan adds: The common man does not establish roads, the government and the relevant government agencies do so, so that the plastic roads are a reality, political will is needed to achieve it.

Swati Singh Sambyal, Program Manager at the Science and Environment Center, adds: The Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) had previously approved guidelines on plastic waste in road construction, which is the second last stage of resolving the plastic problem, the final stage is incineration. The use of plastic in road manufacturing has been explored in Tamil Nadu and in some other states and the process has been verified and examined by CRRI and is underway in many places. The urban development department also states that it is a safe gateway and can be used for roads, provided that the use of plastic is limited to 6% to 8% recommended. ”

Is it really sustainable and pollution free?

According to Ramprasad, there is not enough research on the plastic mixture for the placement of roads and, therefore, its advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. “There is not much research on the long-term environmental impact of mixing plastic with bitumen for road works. What degree of plastic mixing is needed for what type of road is not defined and here we are talking about roads and highways in the city, which have different loading and loading capacities. It is necessary to take into account several factors: the effect of rainwater, the wear caused by the large volume of traffic, the filtration of microplastics with rainwater, etc. Most importantly, the plastic for the mixture must be of a certain quality, with no dirt and organic content. Who is going to monitor that? , Question. Refuting this, Rajagopalan adds: There is much research published on this subject by the Pollution Control Board (PCB) and CRRI. It is not that the microplastics seep into the groundwater, since the plastic mixes with the bitumen and no amount of rain or heat can dissolve it. ”

Focus on segregation for recycling.

“The quality of garbage segregation determines a better raw material for processing, which in turn will add value to the final product and send less garbage to landfills. We have to focus on quality segregation for recycling and recycling solutions, ”says Ramprasad.

White topping versus plastic paths

Interestingly, BBMP has been white overcoming many roads in Bangalore, instead of considering mixed plastic roads as a solution. “Concrete roads are not only much more expensive than the use of plastic and bitumen, but they are also not good for vehicles, since they cause much more wear to rubber tires. In contrast, mixed plastic roads cause significantly less wear, ”says Rajagopalan.