Man who manufactures plastic roads awarded Padma Shri

Prof Rajagopalan Vasudevan, dean and professor of chemistry at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, popularly known for his development of using plastic waste to build roads of has been announced in the list of Padma Shri award winners.

29 Jan 2018 | By Sriraam Selvam

The 73-year old Vasudevan developed the methodology in 2001 and the first road using recycle plastic waste was built in 2002 at Jambulingam Street, Chennai which last reported having stood despite several floods and storms in Chennai.

From then on the method is said to have been used to lay over one lakh kilometres of the road across 11 states.

Speaking to a leading business daily about the announcement Vasudevan said, “This award will also motivate many others to innovate with simple technology for the benefit of the community and the common citizen of India."

The process which was patented in 2006 by the college, involves the plastic waste material first being shredded to a particular size using a shredding machine followed by The aggregate mix is heated at 165°c and transferred to the mixing chamber, and the bitumen is heated to 160°c to result in good binding and then the shredded plastic waste is then added to the aggregate.

While Europe and US have seen use of polymer in road building since 1970 the use of plastic waste is novel and considered extremely cheap in development cost. Besides the cost, environmental benefits plays a huge role in using plastic waste.

“Use of each tonne of plastic waste avoids the entry of three tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which otherwise results in global warming,” had said Vasudevan.