Huge quantities of plastic granules remain unutilised in the city as the civic authorities could not get the approval of the Public Works Department for using them for road works. Conversion of plastic refuse into granules was introduced in the city as a method for managing plastic waste.
The Kochi Corporation had earlier contracted Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) Kochi chapter for the collection of plastic refuse from the city flats where the agency had initiated a clean city campaign. The plastic thus collected was shredded into granules and stored at the shredding units in the city. It is estimated that around 44 tonnes of plastic granules have piled up at the shredding units. Plastic was converted into granules to be used along with bitumen for tarring roads. The civic authority had also used them for tarring nearly one km of road at Manappattparambu nearly two years ago. A few agencies including a government organisation had procured granules from Kochi for using it along with bitumen.
The CREDAI had been sending pet bottles and other plastic materials for recycling. Thin plastic covers and materials like thermocol are converted into granules. Though the contract of the agency with the Kochi Corporation for conversion of plastic into granules had expired early this year, the civic body has not renewed it, an official said.
When contacted, Soumini Jain, chairperson of the Works Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation, said that the civic body was in favour of using plastic granules for laying roads. The use of plastic granules would save up to 10 per cent of bitumen besides improving the durability of the roads. However, Kochi Corporation could not use it for want of the government order permitting its use in road building, she said.
The municipal corporation can use only the materials listed in the manual of the Pubic Works Department for road and other civil works. As plastic granules have not been included in the manual, the Corporation is unable to use them. The Corporation had written to the State government seeking permission for its inclusion in the list. Instructions were also issued for renewing the contract, she said.
Currently, there is no action plan in the city for the management of plastic waste. Plastic refuse collected from different parts of the city are dumped at the solid waste treatment plant site of the Kochi Corporation at Brahmapuram.