According to One Green Planet, the region of Tamil Nadu, in southern India, has turned more than 1,600 tons of waste plastic into 620 miles (or roughly 1,000 kilometers) of roads in the past five years.
This initiative falls in line with the Indian government’s “Clean India,” or Swachh Bharat, plan, the Guardian reports. Swachh Bharat aims, among other things, to end open defecation throughout the country and deliver clean water to 90% of India’s rural population.
But India’s plastic road-building initiative actually predates Swachh Bharat. One of the country’s first plastic roads was built in 2002, in Chennai, a city in Tamil Nadu. Fifteen years later, the road, Jambulingam Street, “has yet to show any signs of wear and tear that typical roads tend to, such as cracks and potholes,” according to Oxy Chennai.
Throughout India, an estimated 21,000 miles (33,000 kilometers) of road has been constructed with recycled plastic, with a large majority of these plastic roads in rural areas.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country intends to double down on its plastic road vision. Last November, the government mandated that new road construction throughout the country must use waste plastic.