Roads in the state of Rajasthan are in a bad condition, even the ministers are blaming their own PWD Ministers for the same. Meanwhile, after conducting research for 2 years, the scientists of MNIT Jaipur have claimed that roads made out of plastic waste are many times better than asphalt roads. The research project was given to MNIT by National Rural Road Development with the aim of finding out whether plastic waste roads are better or the asphalt ones.
The study began under the leadership of Principal Investigator, Professor BL Swami and the team studied the roads made out of plastic waste in Jaipur, Dausa, Sikar, Udaipur, Pali, Jodhpur, Nagaur, and Bikaner, constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). Field and lab tests were conducted of 40 KMs of plastic waste and 10 KMs of asphalt roads. The average age of all was found to be 4 years. It was also discovered that issues like cracks and potholes were 80% less in plastic waste roads as compared to asphalt roads.
For instance, an asphalt road, built 4 years back in Jaipur’s Gangapol has been completely7 damaged by rainfall; on the other hand, built in 2015, the plastic waste road developed in Jaipur’s Govindgarh is still in a much better condition.
As explained by Professor BL Swami, plastic waste like carry-bags, cups, wrappers of chips, biscuits and chocolates, are reduced to small 8 mm pieces. Then, small stones and pebbles are laid out and are heated till temperatures of 140 to 160 degrees Celsius, after which a layer of plastic waste and then asphalt is spread on top of it. 8% plastic waste is mixed in all the components used in road-building. This technique was discovered in India by plastic man, Padmashree Professor Rajgopalan Vasudevan.
During the research, trucks with loads of 8 tons each were made to cross roads of each type, and the plastic waste roads got 15% less pressed than asphalt ones. To check the ride quality, readings from sensor-fitted cycles were taken, and it was found out that the plastic waste roads were less rough. Also, asphalt roads expand due to temperature changes but this problem too, was absent in plastic waste roads. And in case the drainage system was fine, plastic waste roads proved to be better then asphalt roads in the rainy season too.
As opined by VS Sunda, Former Director, Engineering, JDA, the centre is building such roads in a few places, they are gaining prevalence in south India as well, and the state of Rajasthan should work on such changes as well. He added that the expenditure on both the types of roads for a kilometre, on an average, is 25-30 lakhs, and if drainage is improper, asphalt roads get damaged within 2 years, but drainage provides strength to plastic waste, and nothing goes wrong till 5 years, along with this, plastic waste is re-used as well.
The average life of asphalt roads is 3 years, and the builder has to provide maintenance to it for 3 years, the road gets damaged every year due to rainfall. While asphalt plants stay shut for many months during monsoons, people have to commute on roads full of cracks and potholes. On the other hand, the chances of the same are really less with plastic waste roads.