Bengaluru: An innovative machine designed by a team of six final year engineering students that gathers waste plastic is slated to hit Indian roads soon!
Designed to solve the problem of the ubiquitous plastic waste that litters Indian roads and streets, this portable machine is capable of collecting discarded plastic bags. The machine, created by civil engineering students from the Sona College of Technology in Salem is currently undergoing rigorous trials on the streets, within the Municipal limits, of the steel and textiles town.
Explaining key features of the device, project leader Mr TV Kishore Kumar, final year civil engineering student of Sona College of Technology, said the plastic waste collecting device is mounted on a sturdy frame with an infra-red sensor attached to a mobile vacuum chamber. It is capable of sensing plastic on the roads and attracting it.
Kishore Kumar along with his classmates N Javeeth Khan, R Akash, S Lokeshwar, R Dinesh Babu and RIlavarasan were inspired to create this device after a stirring call of “Make India Plastic Free” given by the Sona College of Technology Vice Chairman Chocko Valliappa. They decided to work on this major civic and environmental issue.
While mentoring the team Sona College of Technology Dean R&D and Head of Civil Engineering department Dr R Malathy and Associate Professor Dr MNA Gulshan Taj pushed them to keep the cost of the device low and integrate ideas to reuse waste plastic that would be collected.
The team integrated a shredder as an add-on accessory. It would shred the collected plastic bags. This shredded material was then mixed to concrete as replacement for fine aggregates, thus increasing the utility of the machine and adding economic value to the waste so collected.
The machine’s add-on shredding accessory can help deploy plastic waste in useful building products like hollow blocks, paver blocks and other non-structural components.
In a product review session Principal SRR Senthil Kumar proposed the addition of solar panels to the machine so as to meet the machine’s power needs. The College also filed for a patent for this low-cost machine. What started as an idea to “Make India Plastic Waste Free” could add additional heft to the “Swachh Bharat” initiative of the Prime Minister.
India’s per capita plastic consumption which was pegged at 11 kilos per year in 2017 is estimated to rise to 20 kilos per year by 2022, according FICCI estimates posing environmental challenges as plastic waste ends up choking landfills, drains and rivers and flows into the seas endangering marine life. In addition, it leaches into soil contaminating water.