Hyderabad: Several posts claiming that Indian roads are being constructed using waste plastic are doing the rounds of social media.
A user shared a tweet by Erik Solhiem and wrote, "100 kms of roads = 100 million usage of waste bags. I do not know if there could be a better way to beat plastic pollution! @ErikSolheim Thank you so much for sharing."
Here is the tweet by Erik Solhiem, the president of Green Belt and Road Institute.
The claim that India has constructed several kilometers of roads using plastic is TRUE.
According to reports, India has been leading the world in experimenting with plastic-tar roads since the early 2000s. But a growing number of countries are beginning to follow suit.
In 2015, the Indian government made it mandatory for plastic waste to be used in constructing roads near large cities of more than 500,000 people after Vasudevan gave his patent for the system to the government for free. "A single lane of ordinary road requires 10 tonnes of bitumen per kilometre, and with India laying thousands of kilometres of roads a year, the potential to put plastic waste to use quickly adds up," according to a BBC report.
According to Reuters, the technology was developed by Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a chemistry professor at Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai. It uses finely shredded plastic waste that is added to heated bitumen. This mix is then poured over stones.
Vasudevan, popularly known as 'Plastic man of India', developed this technology and received a patent for it in 2006.
Plastic wastes such as carry bags, cups, thermocole, foam, and flexible film are shredded into sizes between 1.6mm and 2.5mm. The granite stone is heated to around 170°C and the shredded plastic waste is added to it. The mixture that arises gets coated over stone in just 30 seconds. Bitumen is then added and the mix is used for road construction, even as the road is laid at temperatures between 110°C and 120°C. The process can also be carried out using a central mixing plant.
According to a report in indiatvnews.com published in July 2021, Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, in a written reply in Lok Sabha, said that about 703 km of National Highways have been constructed using waste plastic.
The claim that India has constructed several kilometers of roads using plastic waste is TRUE.