What began a project for an inter-school competition is now on the verge of becoming a reality in the form of students’ contribution to the growing number of possible solutions to plastic waste and poor roads. Once a final go-ahead is received from the Bhrihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), three Class IX students of Ryan International school, Kandivali, will construct a road with recycled waste plastic.
The students and their teacher have been called for a meeting with BMC’s R south ward officials next week to discuss their idea. “We liked their idea and enthusiasm. We received their letter and have told them we will allow them to re-lay 50-metre stretch of a road. However, we want to re-look at their proposal in detail. We are ready to offer whatever help they need. We will be a meeting the students next week,” S R Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner of R South ward, said.
The three students — Vignesh Pai, Saurabh Hiremath and Andriya Tiwary — along with their teacher Snehal Sawant, have prepared a detailed presentation showing how plastic could be collected by waste-pickers, volunteers and civic workers from various sources such as apartments, schools, shopkeepers and from garbage dumping yards, and segregated and cleaned. The presentation was made at “Happy India”, a competition held by an insurance firm last week which earned them a cash prize of Rs 50,000.
Vignesh Pai, said, “We have sought permission from the local BMC office to built a 50-metre road in Thakur village or along 90-feet road in Thakur complex, both in Kandivali East. Our aim is to make eco-friendly roads that will be free from potholes, apart from being cheaper in maintenance.”
Plastic in roads is an idea that has been experimented upon for several years now, with varying degrees of success.
The students have already collected 52.8 kgs of shredded plastic from various sources.
Hiremath said, “From the waste dispatched for composting, the usable plastic – x-ray films, cups, plates, carry bags, wrappers, and bottles can be put through a shredder and cut into 2-4 mm pieces. Uasge of plastic bitumen decreases the cost of road construction by 15 per cent as the bitumen required for construction reduces by 10 per cent and is replaced with polymers.”
The students are now awaiting a written permission and contract from the BMC to re-lay a 50 metre stretch of road.