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Nelson Mandela Bay aims to travel the plastic route

The Nelson Mandela Bay metro wants to take a leaf out of the Kouga municipality’s book and build plastic roads in the city.

The roads and transport portfolio committee gave the plan the thumbs-up on Thursday, but the item still has to go to the mayoral committee before the council can rubber-stamp it.

The committee members plan to travel to Jeffreys Bay on a site visit, where they will compare the normal tarred road with the 300m stretch of plastic road in Woltemade Street.

The pilot project was built by Scottish manufacturer Macrebur and Port Elizabeth companies SP Excel and Scribante.

In his report to the committee, infrastructure and engineering executive director Walter Shaidi said plastic products in the municipality could be recycled and converted into the final product — the planned plastic road.

“About 1.5 tons of plastic, which is comparable to 1.8-million plastic bags, was used to make just 1km of road.

“This plastic building technique has already been used in other countries such as Canada and Australia,” Shaidi said.

He said not only would the project create much-needed jobs, but it would also be an opportunity for communities to make money by collecting and selling plastic waste.

Kouga has already won two awards for its plastic road, walking away with gold and silver at the Eco-logic Awards hosted by Enviropedia.

The awards honour organisations, individuals and communities that contribute positively to a sustainable world.

The Kouga project was born two years ago with a motion by the DA in the Bhisho legislature to test the feasibility and practicality of the plastic road building technique.

It was rejected by the majority of members in the ANC-led legislature, however, DA MPL Vicky Knoetze took the proposal to the DA-led Kouga municipality.

In an interview, Bay roads and transport political head Rosie Daaminds commended the proposal and said it would be one of the finest items passed by the ANC-led coalition government.

“All of us are talking the same language and it’s going to be easy passing this in council because this is an opportunity for all residents, who will realise that they can make money from the plastic bags they throw in bins.

“This will also help with the more than 700km gravel roads backlog we have,” Daaminds said.

Both the ANC and the DA chief whips in the committee, Mbulelo Gidane and Rano Kayser agreed with the proposal.

ANC councillor Mvuzo Mbelekane first brought the proposal in 2017, but it was rejected.

“However, I didn’t give up because I knew that it will save millions of rand in 10 to 15 years,” he said.

“When the Kouga municipality implemented this, I was excited that finally in SA we’ll be able to build recycled-plastic roads.

“I’ve visited the municipality and the road is beautiful, but I want our municipality to build smart roads, not just recycled-plastic roads, like they do in the Netherlands.”


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