So far 703 km of National Highways have been constructed with use of waste plastic in “wearing coat of flexible pavement”, the Parliament was told on Thursday. Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told the Lok Sabha, in a written reply, that the ministry has issued guidelines for mandatory use of waste plastic in periodic renewal with hot mixes and in wearing coat of service road on national highways within 50km periphery of an urban area having population of more than 5 lakhs.
Use of plastic waste in construction of road protects the environment from adverse impact of waste plastic. Plastic roads consist of 6-8 per cent plastic, while 92-94 per cent is bitumen.
In 2016, Gadkari had announced the usage of plastic waste in road construction in 2016. Since then, plastic waste has been used in constructing roads in 11 states. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report, as much as 3.3 million metric tonnes of plastic waste was generated in India, which is approximately 9,200 tonnes a day (TPD), in 2018-19.
The report stated that the total municipal solid waste generation is 55-65 million tonnes and out of it, plastic waste is approximately 5-6 per cent.
To regulate use of plastic, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change came up with draft Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2021, which proposes a ban on the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of specific single-use plastic from January 1, 2022.
Specific single-use of plastic include plastic sticks for balloons, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, plastic flags, and thermocol. Union minister Nitin Gadkari recently said national highways construction has seen sharp rise during the COVID-19 pandemic restriction period. The road transport and highways minister further said in 2020-21, the highways construction pace reached 36.5 km/day, the highest-ever construction speed for national highways. In a series of tweets, Gadkari said India also created a world record by constructing a 2.5 km four-lane concrete road in just 24 hours, and 26-km single-lane bitumen road in just 21 hours.
He said special efforts have been made to sustain this speed of construction, which includes support to contractors, relaxation in contract provisions, direct payment to sub-contractors and food and medical facilities to on-site workers. To ensure quality control in these projects, construction is being carried out as per highest Indian Roads Congress (IRC) standards and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) specifications. He also said a quality control zone has been set up to update policy guidelines as well as examine and issue directions for system improvement on quality.
A total of 2,284 kilometres of national highways were constructed during the April-June period, an increase of 25.28 per cent compared to the year-ago period, despite the second COVID wave-induced lockdowns in most parts of the country, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.
In April-June period of 2020, a total of 1,823 kilometres of national highways were constructed. This was also the time when there was a national lockdown to curb the spreading of coronavirus infections.