Source: World Economic Forum
India has 1.3 billion citizens and each of them is using an average of 11kg of plastic each year. Most of the plastic ends up in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, where it can kill fish, birds and other marine wildlife.
When the trawlers drag their nets through the water, they scoop out huge amounts of plastic along with the fish. Until recently the fishermen would simply throw the plastic junk back into the water. This changed, when last summer Kerala’s fisheries minister J. Mercykutty Amma started an initiative to fight this problem. Under her direction, the state government launched a campaign called Suchitwa Sagaram, or Clean Sea, which trains fishermen to collect the plastic and bring it back to shore.
And the campaign is successful: according to a UN report, fisherman have removed 25 tonnes of plastic from the Arabian Sean, including 10 tonnes of plastic bags and bottles, in the first 10 months.
Once all the plastic waste caught by the Keralan fishermen reaches the shore, it is collected by people from the local fishing community and fed into a plastic shredding machine. Like so many of India’s plastic recycling schemes, this shredded plastic is converted into material that is used for road surfacing.
There are more than 34,000km of plastic roads in India, mostly in rural areas. More than half of the roads in the southern state of Tamil Nadu are plastic. This road surface is increasingly popular as it makes the roads more resilient to India’s searing heat. The melting point for plastic roads is around 66°C, compared to 50°C for conventional roads.
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