Solid waste management has remained always an issue of concern keeping the large quantity of the waste material daily produced and the continuing civic authorities battle to bring the rot to manageable level. Non-bio-degradable plastic, the bane of modern times, has been the biggest culprit and there have been experiments to utilise the material for economic purposes. One such step was to use the plastic waste for road-making but due to the reasons best known to the authorities these small experiments could not take-off commercially and has been given a silent burial. In a first of its kind experiment in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will use plastic and polythene dumped in godowns of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) for laying road on the 270-km-long Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, which is undergoing four-laning. Environmentally fragile J&K is facing a daunting task of disposing of tonnes of polythene material generated by consumers every year. The pilot project, five metric tonnes of polythene would be tested on the Jammu-Pathankot National Highway using the existing technology available in India and if successful, will be replicated on the strategic highway, which connects Kashmir Valley with the rest of India. Many states in India have adopted this technique. Roads laid with asphalt mixed with plastic are resistant to water, cold weather and general wear and tear. The idea of using plastic with hot bitumen was first conceived by a Prof Rajagopalan Vasudevan, Professor of Chemistry at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai. He implemented the use of plastic waste on a road constructed inside the premises of his college in 2002. In 2006, the Thiagarajar College of Engineering received the patent for this technology. What has held back tapping commercial value of such environmental saving concept nobody knows. Hope that the initiative taken by NHAI would become a commercially successful and can be replicated to other parts of the country and save the environment.
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