We had earlier reported that the Maharashtra government is planning to re-lay over 10,000 kms of roads using 50,000 tons of plastic waste in the next six years.
Now, the state government has gone a step further by making it compulsory for the Public Works Department (PWD) to use plastic waste for the construction and repair of bituminous (or asphalt) roads!
This step has been taken to sustainably utilise the increasing amount of plastic waste that has collected with the civic bodies as the plastic ban in Maharashtra continues to come down heavily on manufacturers and consumers. In fact, the Mumbai civic body has already collected 1.42 lakh kg of plastic waste!
Furthermore, in addition to tackling the plastic waste problem, the move will also ensure roads with better quality at a lesser price. This is because roads built with plastic-asphalt tar have improved longevity, better water-resistance and require less maintenance when compared to those built with conventional materials.
“All roads made of waste plastic will undergo a quality test after every three months, and a report will be submitted to the State government after a year”, said a state government resolution (GR) issued by the PWD, adding that the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research too had found that such roads are of better quality and less expensive.
As such, the PWD will henceforth get the collected non-biodegradable plastic waste, with the responsibility to recycle it and use it for road construction/repairs. It will also have to specially mention the details of the aforementioned waste plastic usage in road tenders.
In fact, as directed by the GR, the chief engineer of each respective area will be tasked with supervising junior officers on whether they are using waste plastic or not in asphalting work.
Interestingly, following a central government notification in November 2015, the Maharashtra PWD had asked its regional offices to use waste plastic in building certain stretches of roads on a pilot basis in February 2016.