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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Government Integrates Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 with Road Construction, Allowing the Use of Solid Waste in Highway Building

The government has announced a strategic link between road construction and Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0, facilitating the incorporation of inert material from solid waste into embankments along national highways. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, following successful pilot projects, has finalized a draft policy on utilizing inert waste material that does not naturally disintegrate. Seeking public input, the ministry aims to address challenges related to urban solid waste disposal and the growing demand for earth or soil in embankment construction amid accelerated highway development.

The ministry estimates that approximately 170 million tonnes of waste accumulate at 2,304 dump sites across the country. The draft policy suggests leveraging inert material from these sites for embankment construction on national highways and state roads. The government has officially aligned highway construction with Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 to reinforce this initiative.

According to the draft guidelines, all projects, whether in the bidding stage or detailed project report (DPR), may qualify to use inert material. The guidelines propose making it mandatory to use inert soil in highway or road embankment construction if provided on-site by local bodies.

While municipal bodies are encouraged to establish biomining facilities for municipal solid waste, the guidelines allow highway contractors, in exceptional cases, to set up such facilities. Machines acquired for this purpose may be considered for mobilization advance within the overall ceiling, at applicable rates.

Solid waste disposal is a significant environmental challenge in urban areas, with an estimated 10,000 hectares of land occupied by dump sites. The memorandum highlights the urgency of addressing landfill site limitations due to potential environmental and health hazards. The first pilot project, conducted in Delhi-NCR on the urban extension road and DND Sohna spur of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, successfully utilized inert material for embankments. The second pilot project, carried out on the Ahmedabad-Dholera Expressway, similarly demonstrated the effective use of inert material from municipal solid waste in embankment construction.

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