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Inspirations: A regular column on everyday people who change our world

By Sanjana Chappalli

On nearly 2,000 km of roads across Bengaluru, there is not a whisper of complaint as drivers cruise down asphalt tarmacs mixed with plastic. For eight years, Ahmed and Rasool Khan have recycled waste — plastic water bottles, food packaging material, etc — to build pothole-free roads. They address two crucial problems — battered tarmacs and choked landfills. Currently, the city generates 50 tonnes of plastic waste every day. The Khans claim that if their idea is implemented on a larger scale, this can be reused entirely. They should know. Not very long ago, they were manufacturers of plastic packaging material. In the late 1990s, when environmentalists upped the ante to get plastic banned, the brothers went green. In 2000, they approached top research institutes to get the required certifications. “We realised the government would pay attention to our idea only if scientists at the Central Road Research Institute and the IITs backed it,” says Ahmed. Now, municipal authorities in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad are trying to take the idea further.

This article was originally published in Tehelka, a leading independent news magazine in India, known for its investigative journalism. 

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