An innovative scientist in India has developed an effective system that transforms plastic garbage into durable construction components to build cost-effective roads.
The technology, devised by Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a professor at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, may help address the current plastic waste problem India is facing today.
Generating more than 15,000 tons of plastic waste daily, India considers plastic garbage disposal as one of its biggest environmental challenges, reported E27.
Vasudevan’s technology turns plastic wrappers, bottles and grocery bags into a bitumen asphalt substitute. The roads built using the material are not only cost-effective and environment-friendly, they even show greater resistance to damages caused by heavy rains.
Vasudevan’s innovation has already been replicated and widely used in rural India, covering more than 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) of roads in at least 11 states. City administrations plan to make even more roads using this technology.
For years, India’s local government has sought waste segregation methods to separate recyclable from non-recyclable garbage. Third-party companies who were tasked to do so, however, use traditional practices of either burning or burying them all, methods that similarly pollute the environment.
The 69-year-old chemistry professor, who has been dubbed the “Plastic Man of India,” began studying recycled plastic in 2001.
Vasudevan’s method can even accommodate snack wrappers, which were previously not recycled, by shredding and then using them in layers. Without the use of heavy and complicated machinery, the technology utilizes an easy-to-use tool that is cheaply assembled in warehouses. It uses existing road-laying procedures and complicated training is not necessary.
The system, which has been patented by Vasudevan’s university, is now licensed and free to use by anyone. It has earned the professor well-deserved recognition by government bodies such as the Central Pollution Control Board and Indian Roads Congress.