First plastic road of Jaipur Military Station inaugurated by Maj Gen RS Godara

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First plastic road of Jaipur Military Station inaugurated by Maj Gen RS Godara

The Jaipur Military Station marked a significant milestone on June 26, 2024, with the inauguration of its first plastic waste road. Major General R S Godara, the General Officer Commanding of 61 Sub Area, presided over the ceremony, highlighting a new chapter in sustainable infrastructure development within the Indian Army.

This initiative makes Jaipur Military Station the second in the country to incorporate plastic waste into road construction, following the pioneering efforts at Narangi Military Station in Guwahati, Assam, in 2019. The newly constructed road at Jaipur spans 100 meters, stretching from Sagat Singh Road under the bridge to the Cubs Corner complex.

Commitment to Sustainability

The construction of the plastic waste road aligns with the Indian Army’s policy to foster sustainable and green military stations. The project was executed under the guidance of GE (South), CE Jaipur Zone, with the support of Deep Constructions Pvt Ltd. Plastic waste roads offer numerous advantages over conventional roads, including enhanced durability, reduced wear and tear, lower water absorption, and increased sustainability.

The Journey of Plastic Waste Roads

India’s journey towards utilizing plastic waste in road construction began in 2015 when the government permitted its use in the construction of National Highways on a pilot basis. This initiative aimed to address the country’s escalating plastic waste problem. Plastics, being non-biodegradable, pose a severe environmental threat. They often end up in landfills, oceans, and agricultural fields, causing significant harm to ecosystems and wildlife.

Innovators Behind the Concept

The groundbreaking technique of using plastic waste in road construction was developed and patented by Professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan of Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai. His team at the Centre for Studies on Solid Waste Management (CSSWM) devised a method where plastic waste is mixed with heated bitumen and then coated over stone aggregates used in road construction.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) conducted an audit of roads constructed with this technology and found them to be exceptionally durable, with no potholes, rutting, or raveling even after four years of use. This success led the government to endorse the use of plastic waste in road construction across the country. Professor Vasudevan, known as the “Plastic Man of India,” was honored with the Padma Shri in 2018 for his contributions.

Government Policies and Future Prospects

In 2017, the Indian government approved the mixing of 10 percent plastic waste with hot bitumen for road construction. By 2023, it became mandatory to use plastic waste in constructing and repairing service roads of national highways within a 50-kilometer radius in urban-rural areas with a population of five lakh. This policy has led to the construction of plastic waste roads in several cities, including Chennai, Delhi, Jamshedpur, Pune, Indore, and Lucknow.

Plastic waste roads not only consume 15 percent less coal tar but also extend the lifespan of highways from five to ten years compared to conventional roads. The water-resistant nature of plastic prevents the formation of potholes, which are common on traditional roads due to rainwater seepage.

A Step Towards a Greener Future

The inauguration of the plastic waste road at Jaipur Military Station represents a significant step towards a greener and more sustainable future. This innovative approach to road construction not only addresses the pressing issue of plastic waste management but also sets a precedent for other military and civilian infrastructure projects across the country. As the Indian Army continues to embrace eco-friendly practices, the benefits of such initiatives will undoubtedly ripple across the nation, paving the way for a cleaner and more resilient environment.

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