It was just last Thursday when environmental experts warned that Metro Manila will “be covered almost knee-deep in plastic waste in one year.” This is only one of the many reports proving that our garbage crisis is aggravating—from the more than 160 millions of sachet collected every day to the almost 400,000 garbage trucks filled every year.
In other countries, plastic pollution is regarded as a national problem. Governments and big industries are pairing up to make a move against pollution by creating long-term and sustainable projects, like the recycled plastic roads in India, Indonesia, and the Netherlands.
In India, a 2015 government order mandated all road developers to use scrap plastic in building roads. This came after chemistry professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan proved that by shredding plastics and mixing it with bitumen, a mixture for road surfacing, they can create eco-friendly roads that also has better resistance towards storms.
Indonesia adapted this in 2017, when they partnered with Dow Chemical Company and industry giants to turn waste plastic into sustainable roads, which were also found to be “more durable and stronger” than traditional road surfaces.
We may soon see this development in the Philippines as San Miguel Corp. (SMC), one of the biggest enterprises in the country, announced yesterday that they’re also eyeing to partner with Dow Chemical Company and build roads made of “hard-to-recycle” plastics.
In a statement, SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said the project aims to “help our environment and at the same time improve the quality of our infrastructure projects.”
After collecting waste plastic, SMC will use it as an alternative raw material in building asphalt. The non-biodegradable component of these plastics will improve the stability and durability of roads, increase skid resistance, and even lower asphalt costs, SMC stated.
The project with Dow Chemical Company will begin with small municipal roads, sidewalks, and parking lots.
SMC is also encouraging other companies to follow suit. “While we are proud to be the first-mover in this area, we are very hopeful that we won’t be the last or the only ones. The research is there and available to everyone, and we’ll be glad to share our own processes and experience. At the end of the day, this kind of innovation will benefit the same environment we all share,” Ang added.
This is the second environmental initiative the company made this month. Ever since they swore off the use of bottled water in 2017 (READ: This beverage corporation’s swearing off bottled water), SMC has been joining the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in their projects, including the recent cleanup of the Tullahan River.
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Writer: AMIERIELLE ANNE BULAN