This Man Has Created 5000 Km Worth Of Eco-Friendly Roads In India Using Plastic Wastes - Homegrown

This Man Has Created 5000 Km Worth Of Eco-Friendly Roads In India Using Plastic Wastes

India’s per capita consumption of plastic is expected to double in the coming five years. With the Central Pollution Control Board stating that about 15,000 tons of plastic waste is released every day in the nation, this proposition may come to life sooner than expected. Where on one hand there are governmental organisations and NGOs fighting for the reduction of such consumption, there is a single person in Madurai who believes that plastic is a gift of God and has the power to be a wonderful resource - and he’s managed to prove the same too.


Rajagopalan Vasudevan is responsible for laying down more than 5,000km worth of plastic roads in at least 11 states across the country. Popularly known as the Plastic Man of India, Vasudevan is actually a chemistry professor from Madurai who invented a ground-breaking technology that helps in creating roads by reusing plastic wastes. Pollutant free and completely ec0-friendly, Vasudevan’s technology is a perfect example of Jugaad or ‘frugal innovation’. Where the government normally spends millions for building stable roads for the monsoon, this technology is not only cost efficient but also environment friendly. Additionally, the maintenance costs are also lower compared to other roads. These roads are then designed in a manner that they can accommodate pipelines inside them as they are hollow. Moreover Vasudevan has stated that his technology needs no interference from strong machineries as they are supposed to be created in warehouses and then installed onto pathways directly, thus reducing onsite production costs.

In an interview with The Better India, he explained, “The advantages of using waste plastics for road construction are many. The process is easy and does not need any new machinery. For every kilo of stone, 50 gms of bitumen is used and 1/10th of this is plastic waste; this reduces the amount of bitumen being used.  Plastic increases the aggregate impact value and improves the quality of flexible pavements.  Wear and tear of the roads has decreased to a large extent.”

The journey to invent this technology was not easy for him. He extended his interests into plastics in 2001, where his own university welcomed his project by giving him the needful resources. However, our own country did not accept this as a believable resource until after he was recognised in the Netherlands. Therefore, he sadly remained unsung for the longest time as the kind of hero our country needs and deserves today. It was not until 2004 that he got the opportunity to present his idea in front of the the Tamil Nadu chief minister. Immediately impressed, she commissioned 1,000km worth of road stretches to be turned into plastic roads.

Source: Chiara Goia
Source: Chiara Goia

According to Bloomberg, he has been able to gain recognition in recent years as he has been traveling across India and instructing engineers with using the new technology. Even though Vasudevan’s university patents it, it has been licensed for free in most instances. Even two leading government bodies, Central Pollution Control Board and Indian Roads Congress have endorsed the method.
Calling this technology groundbreaking would clearly be an understatement. Vasudevan has not only tackled a problem that hits home alone, but a universal one. With annually 500 billion plastic bags used worldwide, most of which are thrown into the depths of our oceans, plastic wastes are taking up a heavy amount of space on our planet, the kind we can’t afford to give up anymore without taking steps towards utility-focussed recycling of these products. It may take years of effort and money to tackle this problem, but the usage of an invention like Vasudevan’s does not only give our planet a possibility of a greener future but a sustainable one as well.

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