In our day to day life plastic is an important packaging material, but proper disposal of plastic waste is a big problem. Plastic waste is a non-biodegradable material due to which it causes environmental pollution, clogging of drains, flooding, and death of animals that eat them. In humans, it leads to serious problems like breast cancer, reproductive abnormalities and even infertility. If burnt it releases toxic fumes such as phosgene, carbon monoxide, chlorine, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, besides deadly dioxin into the atmosphere. It also blocks seed germination in the field and absorption of water from the soil. In India, around 56 million metric tons of plastic waste is generated annually; hence there is an urgent need to develop some innovative concepts that reduces the disposal problems and environmental pollution.
The adverse effects can be partly reduced by utilizing the plastic waste in the construction of plastic roads and pavement in the developing countries. Important material for the construction of plastic roads consists of plastic carry bags, PET bottles, disposable cups and plates that collected from the garbage dumps. The Indian Centre for Plastics in the Environment (ICPE) encouraging the use of plastic waste for the construction of Bitumen roads also known as Asphalt that can be used as binder mixed with aggregate particles to produce bitumen based road and these roads are found to be better and the best solution for disposal of plastic waste. Plastic polymers show the adhesion property in its molten state and will increase the melting point of bitumen. This new concept would be a boon for hot and extremely humid climatic conditions of India, where temperature frequently crosses 50°C torrential rains create havoc and big potholes by providing strength to the roads that increases its life expectancy.
Plastic roads can last up to 10 years as compared to normal road, therefore, the Government is now encouraging the people for setting small plants for mixing waste plastic and bitumen for the construction of the road and it is hoped that, in the near future we will have strong, durable and eco-friendly roads which will relieve the earth from all the types of non-biodegradable plastic-waste in future.
Characteristic Features of the Plastic Waste-Bitumen Mix Road
- Durability of road is twice than the normal ones.
- Better resistance towards rain water so, no potholes developed during rainy season.
- Comparatively less bleeding in summers.
- No effect of radiations like UV.
- For 1km X 3.75m road, 1 ton of plastic (10 lakh carry bags) is used, and almost a ton of bitumen is saved.
- The maintenance cost of plastic road is almost negligible.
- Increase load withstanding property.
- Lesser road repairs.
- Increases employment hence increases the source of income.
- Providing a better solution for burying the plastic waste without causing a disposal problem.
Disadvantages of Plastic Roads
- Cleaning process- Toxics present in the co-mingled plastic waste would start leaching.
- During the road laying process- in the presence of chlorine will release noxious HCL gas.
- After the road laying- It is opined that the first rain will trigger leaching. As the plastics will merely form a sticky layer, (mechanical abrasion).
- The components of the road, once it has been laid, are not inert.
Spectro Analytical Lab provides all the facilities and instruments for testing the quality of roads, bridges, buildings, load testing and structure stability etc. It also provides training and assistance in this regard.