Streets like this one in Bhutan's capital could be partially made of plastic in the future

Bhutan streets to be paved with waste plastic

Bhutan is planning to use its waste plastic to pave its streets.

The country has launched a public-private project called the Green Road which will mix bitumen with waste plastic generated domestically as paving material which will curb the use of fossil fuels and deal with the growing quantities of plastic waste.

The scheme will also reduce the amount of bitumen imported from India by 40 per cent and cut the amount of plastic waste going into landfills by 30-40 per cent.

Although only 10 to 15 per cent of the mix used to pave roads is plastic, the project is expected to consume all the plastic waste in the country of over 780,000 people, said plastic road entrepreneur Rikesh Gurung.

"We will use the plastic waste to build eco-friendly and durable roads in the country," said the 30-year-old, who in October built an initial 150-metre length of pilot road in the capital, Thimphu [pictured above].

"Recycling plastic waste and not burning (it) is the correct approach to protect the environment."

The country's first waste recycling plant is collaborating with a private construction company, the Department of Roads and the municipal corporation to use the plastic mix to blacktop roads across the country.

"We are monitoring the (project) and it has already been a success. We plan to replicate the same in other parts of the country," said Chador Gyeltsen, the chief engineer of the Department of Roads.

Gurung said he was made aware of the technology when studying at Thiagarajar College of Engineering in the southern Indian city of Madhurai, which has already deployed the technology to pave some of its streets.

He believes the plastic-infused roads will not require maintenance for at least five years, while traditional roads sometimes require yearly repair, given the country's mountain weather.

Bhutan's Ministry of Works and Human Settlement spends about £2.7m each year to fill potholes in Bhutan's roads.

Last month, Virgin Media announced it was trialling the UK’s first smart pavement in Chesham that beams superfast Wi-Fi to urban users.

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