Normal plastic waste — carry bags, cups, hard and soft foams – integrated with bitumen is widely used in construction of roads throughout the country, for which guidelines have been framed by the Indian Road Congress. The MLP waste used for packaging, which contains polymeric materials and aluminum foil, is not used in construction of roads.
By doing so, Punjab will become the first state in the country to use MLP waste in building roads. To begin with, the state government will re-carpet link roads falling in jurisdiction of about 150 market committees across the state. Based on the results, the work on remaining link roads will be initiated in a phase manner.
The authorities have identified the stretches of roads ranging between 3 km to about 30 km in different districts where the MLP waste will be used for re-carpeting. Directions have been issued to market committee to undertake the re-carpeting work by mixing 6% MLP waste in the ready mix of bitumen and stone aggregates. Every kilometre will consume about 3 quintals of MLP waste which will be supplied by Punjab Pollution Control Board.
Punjab public works department secretary Hussan Lal said that unlike use of normal plastic waste in road construction, there are no laid down specification for use of MLP waste in repair and construction of roads. “Based on the quality of the roads made with MLP waste, the mix will be used on the remaining link roads,” he said.
A study to use MLP for road construction was done last year by then chairman of Punjab Pollution Control Board K S Pannu; environmental engineer S S Matharu and a faculty member of Thapar University, Patiala. A paper on finding of the study was also published which stated that MLP waste can not only be used for construction of road but is also better than normal plastic waste.
Pannu, who is now director of mission Tandarust Punjab, said that MLP waste is a major source of pollution and it does not have any alternative use as it contains an aluminum metal layer between two layers of plastics. “All municipal corporations are struggling to manage MLP waste which is not even picked by rag pickers,” said Pannu. He added: “Using MLP waste in construction of roads will help in addressing the problem its management in a better way.”