Ghana’s President Mahama announced a few days ago that a sum of U.S.$750 million had been earmarked for the building of new roads – and the rehabilitation of a number of existing ones.
It is an opportunity for our ruling elites to be creative: and kill two birds with one stone, by finding a positive use for plastic waste whiles weather-proofing Ghana’s road network. That will enable them to provide our country with fit-for-purpose infrastructure – at a time when as a society in transition we are confronted with the challenges wrought by global climate change.
President Mahama could help rid Ghana of the mountains of plastic waste dotted across the nation, by asking the ministry of roads and highways to specify that plastic waste can be mixed with bitumen by road contractors, to climate-change-proof all the roads for which money has now been earmarked by the government.
It will be a cost-effective measure to finally build long-lasting roads across the country – and save hapless taxpayers from having to pay for endless road repairs.
(And hopefully it might also assuage the feelings of those hypocritical and smug traditional rulers – sly partisan self-seekers, with permanent chips on their effeminate shoulders, who pass themselves off as brave men, but in reality are mere spoilt-cowardly-boys – who have the gall to unjustly criticise and publicly disrespect Ghana’s president. But I digress.)
Research conducted in India, by its Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), in Delhi, and other parts of the country, over the years, has proved that plastic roads last much longer than conventional roads. Research has also demonstrated that plastic roads don’t develop potholes. And, furthermore, they have the strength to withstand heavy loads – and being highly resistant to water, plastic roads aren’t easily washed away, by floods.
Perhaps Ghana’s high commissioner to India, H. E. Sam P. Yalley, and H.E. Victor Smith, Ghana’s high commissioner to the UK, could arrange for the Commonwealth Secretariat in London to give a technology transfer grant to India’s CRRI, to enable it transfer the relatively simple technology for building plastic roads, to the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in the Ashanti Region.
Private-sector road construction companies in Ghana, and the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Army, could then send their engineers and other middle-level managers, to the BRRI, to be trained in the use of the right types of plastic waste, and the specific quantities of such waste material that can be mixed with bitumen, to build plastic roads throughout Ghana.
The collection of plastic waste could also provide steady income streams for thousands of recycling micro-entrepreneurs across the country: who could collect and dry plastic waste and deliver it to central collection points nationwide – where waste management companies like Zoomlion and J. Stanley Owusu & Co can then purchase all such delivered plastic waste: and sell them on to plastic road contractors in Ghana.
And unemployed younger generation Ghanaians could also form road-repairing cooperatives, whose members could be trained to use plastic waste mixed with bitumen, to fill potholes, and resurface damaged sections of existing roads, all over the country.
At a time when global climate change is impacting Ghana so negatively, in the form of extreme weather, let us climate-change-proof roads in our country: and stop them from being damaged by floods – by mixing plastic waste with bitumen to build cost-effective and long-lasting plastic roads throughout Ghana. A word to the wise…