Smart road construction can reduce dust pollution in India
Introducing new eco-friendly products are the need of the hour in India. Compared to conventional processes, dust suppression solutions offer a set of distinct advantages and lucrative benefits, including easy application and long-life protection across extreme climatic conditions.
Looking at current situation of the smog and pollution in metropolitan cities in India, it is become very difficult to live and conduct day to day activities with health taking on toll. Quoting an IIT Kanpur study on Delhi's air pollution, which is considered the most comprehensive report on the issue till date, had identified road dust as the biggest source of suspended particulate matter in the city. The situation is alarming. Being in business, I can confidently say that the road dust is the top contributor to rising pollution levels. India will need to invest US $1.7 trillion on infrastructure projects before 2020 to meet its economic needs, for the most part this will go into upgrading India's road network.
So, we have taken the view that technologies like ours and our services such as dust control techniques, rood recycling and stabilization techniques will be in great demand for curbing this issue. However, whilst it seems the Government is getting serious about this issue, very little take up of these technologies has been seen to date. The industry has to be far more proactive.
Introducing new eco-friendly products are the need of the hour in India. Compared to conventional processes, dust suppression solutions offer a set of distinct advantages and lucrative benefits, including easy application and long-life protection across extreme climatic conditions. There are some products that also offer toughness and flexibility, improving safety and eliminating dust complaints. Today, there are state-of-the-art dust technologies available that can solve a range of dust control problems on all types of roads, from major highways and freeways to haulage, industrial and rural roads, tarmacs, hardstand areas and water repellent pavements. It can be easily applied to clay, silt, sand and gravel materials, immediately creating safer, more sustainable and cost-effective infrastructure.
Dust pollution is the main air contaminant and environmental hazard, having extensive health, safety and environmental consequences. Airborne dust particles can pass through while, breathing and travel to the deepest regions of the lungs, over a prolonged period, this can cause many serious respiratory conditions. So, it's high time, the traditional techniques are replaced with recent and safer methods which in turn will ensure a better livable milieu.
The stabilization of soil and aggregate is being used worldwide towards optimal usage of scarce resources. Though soil stabilization exists in Indian codes since last several decades, the concept is yet to be utilized on ground in any significance. The concept of "Cold in Place Recycling ("CIPR)" and Cement treated base ("CTB") have been approved by NHAI and provide a comprehensive solution for restoration of existing road network. The incorporation of proper stabilization technique will ensure more durable, longer lasting roads. The road stabilization process can be divided into three major components.
Design Process and Codes
Stabilization and CIPR requirements in Indian design codes have been adopted from AUSTROADS (Australia) and need further updating with respect to requirements of materials to be stabilized. The use of CTB and CIPR provide far greater strength than conventional methods. This modification will allow engineers to utilize existing material to a large extent and allow usage of locally available marginal material.
The stabilization process has a wide range of stabilization agents i.e., Soil-aggregate mix, lime, cement, fly ash, foundry sand, slag, foamed bitumen, emulsion, polymers and other proprietary chemical stabilizers. These materials are readily available in India and if incorporated properly in road construction, it can be prosperous for the infrastructure sector.
Specialized heavy road recyclers capable of cutting existing soil/aggregate/asphalt, mixing in place, adding water and other stabilization agents as per requirement, speed independent stabilization agent spreader (cement, lime, polymer etc.), Heavy padfoot rollers (20t static and 40t dynamic capacity) and pneumatic tyre rollers are essential components of stabilization process in general. Currently GRT is the only road builder offering these technologies on a sizable scale in India. The need of the hour is to have quicker take up of these proven technologies and deployment of these environment contractors also remains firmly entrenched and whilst there seems to be a huge opportunity in the road space, very few new players are being given a chance- even though there is a severe dearth of contractors as compared to contracts that need to be fulfilled. The archaic processes of contractor registration and bill payments still take up an inordinate amount of time and continues to stifle business across the board.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house