Sri Lanka’s JKP partners with AGC Innovate for a sustainable future for country’s construction sector
The Morning: Setting a new benchmark for sustainability in Sri Lanka’s burgeoning construction industry, leading property developer, John Keells Properties (JKP) partnered AGC Innovate (Pvt.) Ltd. to incorporate Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete (PMAC) paving into its construction projects, including Crescat Boulevard and Cinnamon Life.
Supported by John Keells Holdings’ pioneering social entrepreneurship project, Plasticycle, the new partnership with AGC Innovate aims to help solve Sri Lanka’s plastic waste crisis by creating stable, sustainable solutions by utilising PMAC-based materials across JKP’s expanding portfolio of construction projects.
“Pollution caused by single-use plastics and non-recyclable plastic material are among the most severe environmental issues of our time. By leveraging AGC Innovate’s expertise in PMAC to complete our road surfaces, we establish a pathway towards circular economies in the Sri Lankan construction sector,” said John Keells Properties Chief Operating Officer Inoke Perera.
Before the pandemic, it was estimated that over 46,000 pieces (269,000 tonnes) of plastic polluted one square mile of the Indian Ocean on average, while Sri Lanka generates approximately 7,000 metric tonnes of mismanaged solid waste daily, of which 6% is plastic and polythene waste. Unfortunately, at present, plastic packaging alternatives struggle to compete on value, durability, and versatility. Hence even though the environmental impacts of improperly disposed plastic is undeniable, the use of such materials are likely to continue over at least the short-medium term.
Collection and recycling of waste plastic – which would otherwise take many hundreds of years to degrade at minimum – is the logical solution to the problem of plastic pollution. The development of PMAC for road construction is one such solution which has the potential to have a significant impact on the challenge of plastic pollution, while supporting socio economic development.
By turning these waste materials into an industrial raw material, JKP and AGC Innovate will use waste plastic as a substitute for a percentage of fossil fuels like bitumen, when constructing roads whose paving quality is significantly higher than conventional asphalt. This in turn creates a secondary use for what is often single-use plastics, while also resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions, enabling further positive impacts on JKP’s efforts to lower its carbon footprint. At the same time, the PMAC model creates modified asphalt roads which are safer, smoother, and more cost-effective in addition to being significantly more environmentally friendly and durable.
With the commission of PMAC paving at Crescat Boulevard and JKP’s flagship mixed development Cinnamon Life, a total of 150 kgs and 792 kgs of waste plastic has been recycled and used for roads at both properties. This is collectively equivalent to approximately 41,000 and 211,000 single-use plastic bags respectively, which would otherwise have ended up being dumped in landfills or contributing to the pollution of keystone land and marine ecosystems.
Both projects provided fresh opportunities to demonstrate the versatility of PMAC paving. At Crescat Boulevard, AGC was able to accommodate clients’ requirements, engineering parameters, and compliance with applicable standards in a unique working location.
“Infrastructure development adds value to society and the country. When infrastructure development embodies sustainable ecological and best of green technology, the benefits are boundless. AGC Innovate is privileged to be associated with JKP in this eco-friendly partnership,” stated AGC Innovate Director/Chief Technology Officer and former Road Development Authority Head – Research and Development Dr. Judith Samaranayaka.
The ongoing development programme and the recognition of the country as a growing business destination in the South Asian region have expanded the business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s construction industry. The expansion in the country’s economic activities has resulted in the increase in real estate value in the country, which in turn has resulted in the construction industry receiving a fresh impetus. Given the economic resilience and growth of the country’s economy, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka’s construction industry.
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