The human population cannot thrive without plastic, despite the fact that it is a substance so dangerous that it may be the primary factor contributing to climate change. Scientists have been working on a fix for decaying plastics for decades, but their study hasn't been able to figure out this problem.
Consequences of Plastics
Understanding how plastics affect the environment is crucial before exploring how plastic roads will be helpful. A large amount of the world's overall carbon footprint is caused by plastics. Plastics are recycled, burned, or dumped because they cannot degrade.
The statistics show that 25% of the plastic garbage produced worldwide gets burned, and the remaining 55% is discarded. Only 20% of the recycled plastic garbage is left behind as a result. These figures demonstrate how dangerous plastic garbage is for the environment since more than half of it ends up in the ocean, harming marine life, and because burning plastic releases more than 850 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
How do Plastic Roads help?
Plastic roads, a hybrid of environmentally friendly road building techniques and climate mitigation, were first proposed as an experiment in India in 2001. Since then, a tonne of study has been put into this novel concept, and the end result is a solution for both sustainable building and climate change.
The widespread recycling of plastic debris is the first advantage of plastic roadways. Nearly 10 tonnes of plastic debris may be consumed and recycled in just a one kilometer section of the plastic road. The amount of plastic waste produced worldwide would nearly completely disappear if this idea were to be used in the construction of roads and highways worldwide.
When compared to conventional roads, plastic roads provide a variety of advantages from a sustainability standpoint. They are three times more durable, flexible, and long-lasting than conventional roadways. Additionally, the cost of building materials for conventional roads is substantially higher than it is for plastics, which significantly reduces construction expenses.
The methods used in building plastic roads differ because the concept is still in its infancy. Every nation has made an effort to create its own special recipe for producing plastic roadways. India was the first country to try out this concept, and it created plastic roads using bitumen and plastic. Asphalt and plastic have been combined in experiments in Indonesia. Plastics are still the connecting element.
Since recycled plastics are used to build plastic highways, common consumer goods like water bottles and product packaging are the main sources of this material. However, the final product of creating these roads is unrecognizable and resembles a typical concrete asphalt mixture almost exactly.
The procedure for producing the mixture is simple. Sorted, cleaned, and shredded plastic garbage is produced. At about 170 degrees, the material is melted, and bitumen is then added. This straightforward mixture is used for roadways in the same way as conventional asphalt concrete is. The use of plastics, bitumen, and aggregate in the wet process for building plastic roads is also extremely widespread.
Pakistan’s first-ever Plastic Road
By constructing Pakistan's first plastic road, kilometes long stretch of Ataturk Avenue in Islamabad in December 2021, the city created history. This undertaking was the outcome of CDA and Coca-Cola Pakistan's cooperation. With the help of this plastic road in Islamabad, Pakistan's road systems can move toward being more environmentally friendly while also saving millions of dollars.
Plastic roads are unquestionably the infrastructure of the future, addressing not only climate change but also the issue of sustainability. Although it is still in its early stages, numerous countries have adopted regulations regulating the use of plastics in building.
This revolutionary invention makes construction affordable while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by billions of tonnes. Plastic highways may eventually represent environmental reparation if more nations adopt them.
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