Green energy, green vehicles, green cities, and now it’s time for the green roads. Here, GREEN refers to environment friendly. Today, everything that is beneficial for the environment is Green or Eco-friendly. As our Earth is our only home, – what else could be more important than saving our planet. When everything is going green, green roads can also play an important in saving our environment. Here, you will find all the information about the plastic road for waste management in Nepal.
Especially, in Nepal, we see concrete roads and bitumen roads in cities as well as hilly areas too. Hopefully, constructing green roads will help in protecting our environment.
It is a fact that waste management is one of the world’s biggest issues. Every continent has this problem of managing its wastes. And, one of the most stubborn pollutants in the plastic of course. As we all know, environmental protection is a global concern these days. So, many research and experiment bring every day new solutions for sustainable eco-friendly development.
To illustrate, plastics account for 16 percent of the total waste we generate. Today, plastic has emerged as a serious environmental issue in Nepal as well. Thus as a solution to this, Green Road Waste Management has introduced the concept of plastic roads in Nepal. Now, let’s know what is a green road and how can it help protect our environment.
What is a Green Road or a Plastic Road?
The plastic road is a green technology that uses plastic garbage to make roads. Plastic roads are made either entirely of plastic or composites of plastic with other materials. In addition, plastic roads are different from standard roads because of asphalt concrete, which consists of mineral aggregates and asphalt. Also, the technology of plastic roads is relatively new but rapidly growing.
The Green Road or plastic road technology was developed by the “Plastic Man” of India, Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a Professor of Chemistry at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai. He developed the technology in 2002 and first built a plastic road in his college.
The plastic road is least affected by rainwater and water stagnation. Also, there are fewer potholes and cracks due to its strong construction. It is easier and cheaper to make a plastic road in comparison to other roads. Most importantly, it is made up of plastic, which makes it a savior of the environment.
Why Plastic Road for Waste Management?
Roads are one of the lifelines for human beings. Good roads are the infrastructure of development for any country. We see roads everywhere. Sadly, along with roads and buildings, we also see plastics everywhere.
Plastic has so many uses as well as variations. For, recyclable plastics, it is okay. Though not decomposed, it can still be recycled or reused. But, what about the non-recyclable plastic? Is ending up in landfills, rivers, and seas, the only solution? Many of us see it as a solution.
The truth is, it is just a temporary solution. What if the landfill fills? Thus, scientists and engineers have introduced the concept of green roads or plastic roads. Using non-recyclable plastics in making roads can hide the unwanted plastics under the roads for better use.
Plastic roads have all these features. It is strong, water-resistant, cheaper, and significantly environment-friendly.
Benefits of Plastic Road or Green Road
Plastic roads have a hollow space that can be used to (temporarily) store water, thus preventing floods due to heavy rain.
The hollow space can also be used for the transit of cables and pipes, thus preventing excavation damage.
The patch-up process for potholes is very easy as roads can be created as individual pieces, which can be switched out in case of damage. This is different from traditional ways of road repair.
The most attractive feature of a plastic road for Nepal is its low operating cost and durability. It is cheaper as it uses recycled, post-consumer plastics than asphalt.
Plastic-bitumen composite roads have better wear resistance than standard asphalt concrete roads. They do not absorb water and have better flexibility, which results in less rutting and less need for repair.
Road surfaces remain smooth, need minimal maintenance, and absorb sound better.
The use of plastic in road construction reduces the amount of asphalt. This is beneficial to the environment since asphalt is responsible for 2% of global carbon emissions.
Bitumen roads or tar roads have been in use for a long time. Now, maybe we should try to explore new techniques as well with the green road for waste management.
Waste Management with Eco-Friendly Roads
Roads made of recycled can be a revolution. The massive use of plastic materials in urban development is now creating a huge environmental threat to the environment. The non-decomposable plastics that have a limit of 100s of years is an alarming issue as per many environmentalists.
In fact, reusing plastic is not an easy task. Today, not only in Nepal but also all around the globe, it has become a burning problem. Plastic garbage in mega-cities, landfills, rivers, and oceans, has emerged as a big environmental issue.
Nevertheless, waste management has become a long-lasting problem in our cities like Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Chitwan, and Pokhara as well. There are examples of our own cities where we see the streets littered with garbage (mostly plastic). This, on the one hand, is killing the aesthetic beauty of the city as posing a serious public health challenge.
The main reasons why many cities are unable to manage waste are the volume of waste and the limited management capacity. Here, plastic plays a major role too.
We are glad that, plastic road technology has been recently experimented, in Pokhara on a small stretch of a road by Green Road Waste Management This should be verified and if desirable, other cities can adopt the technology.
Thus constructing roads that use plastic can be one of the most effective solutions for waste management in Nepal and other countries too.
Plastic Road as an Effective Way of Waste Management
A study conducted by the Asian Development Bank in 2017 shows that about 45% of plastic waste is generated globally. While the organic part is decomposable, which can be converted into energy, bio-gas, or manure, the non-decomposable plastic part of the waste is very troublesome.
The use of plastic materials like bags, bottles, wrappers, covers is ever-increasing. Plastic litter also blocks the drainage system and flood the city during rainy seasons. The estimate shows that about 4,000 metric tons of plastic garbage are disposed of every month in Kathmandu only.
One of the exclusive projects of India shows the global inclination towards an effort towards proper waste management. At least 11 states of India have used green road or plastic road technology to build more than 100,000 km of roads. Moreover, the government of India ordered in November 2015 that all road developers in the country use waste plastic, along with bituminous mixes, for road construction.
A very interesting fact is that plastic roads can help countries save millions of their national investments in infrastructure projects with plastic road technology.
On the End Note
Waste management is a global issue. It requires effective strategy from nationals as well as international level. As an individual too we can do things to protect our only home, the Earth. Using a minimum of one-time-use plastic is one of the most effective ways. Likewise, not littering is also the best thing we can do to make our environment clean and healthy.
Let’s take a small step and contribute to protecting the environment.