The Himalayas attract a lot of tourist crowds from across the world. The mountain range supporting a plethora of biodiversity has been a preferred choice of destination for Indians, especially during the summer season to escape the sweltering heat in the plains. In the last few years, with the growth of Social Media, these destinations have become even more popular causing an influx of tourist travelers. This, in turn, has also brought about an increase in the accumulation of plastic waste in the sensitive ecology of the Himalayas.
The management of the Union Territory of Ladakh has decided to employ plastic waste for road construction in an effort to preserve the environment and lessen carbon footprints in the Himalayas. They have determined that a minimum of 10% of the road will be constructed from increasing plastic waste.
Mandatory use of Plastic Waste in the Construction of Roads
It has also been made mandatory by the Administrative Secretary of the PWD Department of Ladakh, to use plastic waste in construction of roads. According to media sources, the plastic waste will include trash including plastic bottles and other containers. With this, the department also intends to shred the plastic waste accumulated in the Leh and Kargil districts and to use at least 10% of this plastic for road development.
As per media reports, the Ladakh administration has approved a legal timeframe to begin the construction of the road. Along with this, the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), New Delhi has also organised training for local engineers, the rural development department, Border Roads Organisation (BRO), and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) in Leh and Kargil districts.
Training Program for the Engineers
On July 11, Kargil hosted a training workshop on using waste plastic in road building along with other events. It was designed to educate engineers about advancements in cold-weather road construction techniques. The Central Road Research Institute worked with the Ladakh Rural Development Department to organise the programme (CRRI).
“The training brings improvements in the road construction activities in the cold climatic conditions of Ladakh and helps the engineers in better utilization of plastic waste in road construction technologies,” said Commissioner Secretary Ajeet Kumar Sahu.
Disposal of Accumulated Plastic Waste
The Divisional Commissioner of Ladakh has reportedly told the media that technology will also be used to dispose of tonnes of plastic rubbish that have collected in Ladakh for years.
“Ladakh officials and engineers will learn advanced techniques to reuse plastic waste in road construction which will in turn also help protect the fragile environment of Ladakh in accordance with the vision of making a carbon-neutral Ladakh,” he said.