Following the success of pilot projects, the Ministry of Road Transport And Highways (MoRTH) has proposed to use inorganic solid waste in construction of highway road projects.
An official memorandum states that the step is being taken to resolve the problem of disposal of urban solid waste and owing to limited land availability for construction of embankment.
MoRTH through the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has undertaken two pilot projects for utilization of inert material which is one of the major components of municipal solid waste.
The memorandum adds, “In view of successful utilisation of inert material in construction of embankment, MoRTH has decided to plan alternative use of this generated solid waste in highway road projects in compliance to solid waste management rules.”
The first pilot project has been carried out on DND Sohna spur of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and on the Urban Extension road in Delhi-NCR.
As part of the second pilot project, inert solid waste material has been used on the Ahmedabad-Dholera Expressway.
Construction of embankment has been carried out as per laid down procedure with strict quality control in both cases.
According to the office memorandum, the disposal of solid waste generated on a daily basis is a major environmental challenge being faced in urban areas across the country. As per a rough assessment, around 10,000 hectares of land is locked in dump sites.
On account of limited land availability, these landfill sites are on the verge to attain maximum capacity and pose serious environmental and health hazards, it added.
MoRTH has, as per the draft document, taken up large scale development of highways, including greenfield projects across the country. The construction of embankment of highways requires huge amounts of soil, which is sometimes procured from agriculture fields.
MoRTH noted that there is a need to construct highways in a sustainable manner so that it has minimum impact on the ecology and environment in the procurement of materials. The document also states that there is a need for utilization of processed inorganic solid waste in the construction of embankments on highways and other roads in the country.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) is a ministry of the Government of India, the apex body for formulation and administration of the rules, regulations and laws relating to road transport, transport research and also to increase the mobility and efficiency of the road transport system in India.
Through its officers of Central Engineering Services (Roads) cadre, it is responsible for the development of National Highways of the country. Road transport is a critical infrastructure for economic development of the country. It influences the pace, structure and pattern of development. In India, roads are used to transport over 60 percent of the total goods and 85 percent of the passenger traffic. Hence, development of this sector is of paramount importance for India and accounts for a significant part in the budget.
The Ministry of Road Transport Highways is structurally divided into the Road Wing, Transport Wing and its independent Finance Wing. Apart from these, there is the Planning and Monitoring zone.
The Secretary (Road Transport & Highways) is assisted by Director General (Road Development) & Special Secretary, Joint Secretary (Road Transport), Financial Advisor, and Advisor (Transport Research).