India is on the fast track of becoming the new China in terms of being the manufacturing factory for the whole world. But in order to do so, it must first develop its infrastructure in order to maximize its output capabilities. The country has some very ambitions projects for the near future, and with some help from the Japanese, they are on their way to achieving them.
Nevertheless, India is still struggling with many environmental and health hazards. According to a Guardian report, between 70-80% of the country’s wastewater (including human sewage) ends up in its rivers and lakes. This has become such a huge problem that Sunita Narain, director of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in Delhi told The Guardian in 2012: “We are drowning in our excreta.”
India’s plastic problem is equally as great. It is estimated that the country produces somewhere around 56 million tons of waste plastic each year with Delhi being responsible for 700 tons of pure plastic each day. Recycling it would be a viable option, but not a long lasting one since much of it will eventually end up in landfills or the ocean.
In order to find a more long lasting measure, the Indian government has agreed to using waste plastic in mixing it with asphalt which enhances both quality and longevity, and also increasing water resistance for future roads. Many voice their concerns regarding the level of toxicity given off during melting, but compared to the alternative, this is a much better and more environmentally-friendly option.
Until the new legislation this week, only the city of Bangalore (now called Bengaluru) had roads made from plastic waste. K K Plastic Waste Management Pvt Ltd is a private company run by two brothers, Rasool and Ahmed Khan. They started recycling plastic waste for construction back in 2002, and after laying 3,000km of roads they were keen to share the technology with others. However, Rasool Khan told Indian news site Citizen Matters that until now, there’s been a lack of interest- and getting hold of plastic waste hasn’t always been easy.
“Assuming that [Bengaluru] produces 100 tonnes of plastic waste on an average every day, we have the capacity to utilize the same plastic waste for laying 5,000 to 10,000 km of roads annually,” he said. “But, this is not happening because it is a herculean task for us to collect dry plastic waste from the city.”
With India‘s new law forcing developers to use waste plastic, and the added incentive for local authorities to make money from selling it, the country hopes to have averted the ticking time bomb of plastic pollution- for now, at least.