How Kenya Can Use Plastic Waste to Construct Roads

August 28, 2017

The ban on plastic bags/carriers takes effect today, marking one of the most consequential days in Kenya’s history.

After previous failed attempts to enforce the ban, NEMA and the Ministry of Environment have put in place strategic guidelines to see the ban through.

With the ban, Kenya can fix two of its biggest problems – bad roads and mounds of plastic waste — at once, if it embraces new technology.

As revealed during a recent seminar on plastic waste management, the technology incorporates plastic waste in the construction of roads.

Mr Balasubramaniam Swaminathan, the president of Enterprising Fairs India, said the roads, built from discarded plastic water bottles and polythene bags will not only be water resistant but also stronger, smoother and durable.

He spoke during the seminar at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on June, 11, 2017.

“The low-cost technology developed by Indian professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan involves using a mix of plastic waste and tar to build roads,” he said.

During the seminar, which is part of the Plastic Machinery Industry Exhibition, Indian High Commissioner to Kenya Suchitra Durai said thousands of kilometres of roads could be built using the technology.

According to the Daily Nation, a kilometre of road usually requires 10 tonnes of bitumen. However, shredded plastic can replace 10 to 12 per cent of the tar.

A million plastic bags make a tonne of plastic.

Suchitra Durai said such roads were built in India from 2002 “and are not showing any signs of wear and tear”.

“If Kenya is interested, it can approach us with the request and we can link local officials to the professor in order to address the plastic waste menace,” the diplomat said.

The technology is also environment-friendly and does not need significant technical knowledge, large investments or changes to existing road-laying procedures.

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