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Kolkata adopts plastic-mixed asphalt for durable and sustainable roads

The use of plastic-mixed asphalt in road construction is a step towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly future. While there are concerns about the environmental impact of using plastic waste, it provides a viable solution for reducing plastic pollution and improving road infrastructure.

By ArchitaKedia
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Kolkata adopts plastic-mixed asphalt for durable and sustainable roads

Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal, India, is known for its rich cultural heritage, iconic landmarks, and vibrant street life. However, the city's infrastructure has been a cause for concern for its residents, particularly its road network. The constant wear and tear of Kolkata's roads has led to frequent potholes, cracks, and uneven surfaces. Furthermore, this causes inconvenience and, also poses a risk to public safety.

Hence, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has introduced a new method of road construction that involves mixing plastic waste with asphalt to create a more durable and sustainable road surface.

But, is plastic-mixed asphalt the answer to Kolkata's road woes? Here are the facts:

Plastic-mixed Asphalt: An Innovative Solution

The use of plastic waste in road construction has several advantages, such as it reduces the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills. Thereby, reducing the environmental impact of plastic pollution. Secondly, it provides a sustainable solution for road construction, as it reduces the need for virgin materials such as bitumen. Lastly, it improves the durability and performance of road surfaces. The plastic-mixed asphalt has been found to be more resistant to wear and tear, water damage, and thermal stress.

The process of mixing plastic waste with asphalt involves shredding plastic bags, bottles, and other waste products into small pieces. And, then blending them with hot bitumen to form a mix that is used for road construction. The plastic waste acts as a binding agent, improving the strength and flexibility of the asphalt.

lastic-mixed asphalt for durable and sustainable roads
Representative Picture | Photo: Jose Arukatty/Wikimedia Commons

Kolkata Municipal Corporation's Successful Implementation

The KMC has already implemented the plastic-mixed asphalt technology on several roads in the city, and the results have been promising. According to a KMC official,

"The roads constructed using plastic-mixed asphalt have shown better resistance to potholes and cracks, and they have a smoother surface than traditional roads."

Sustainability Concerns with Plastic-mixed Asphalt

While plastic-mixed asphalt provides a sustainable solution for road construction, there are concerns about the environmental impact of using plastic waste. Although, some experts argue that the process of shredding and blending plastic waste with bitumen may release toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases.

Global Adoption and Government Support

The plastic-mixed asphalt technology has been successfully used in many other cities around the world, including Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi in India. Not just India, countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia also use the technology. In 2015, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a notification allowing the use of waste plastic in bituminous mixes for road construction. The notification stated that the use of plastic waste in road construction is a "technically proven, eco-friendly, and cost-effective" solution.

lastic-mixed asphalt for durable and sustainable roads
Representative Picture | Photo: Kubat Sydykov / World Bank

Conclusion

The use of plastic-mixed asphalt in road construction is a step towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly future. While there are concerns about the environmental impact of using plastic waste, it provides a viable solution for reducing plastic pollution and improving road infrastructure. The KMC's adoption of plastic-mixed asphalt technology is a positive step towards creating a more livable and sustainable city.

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