Infrastructure technology and the folding bike

Published November 24, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal
Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal


Last week ushered in a new phase of infrastructure development in the Philippines. A more sustainable, environment-friendly approach that will reap benefits for not only for our generation, but also more importantly for future generations.

The concept started with a simple idea over a year ago. San Miguel Corporation (SMC). President Ramon Ang wanted to build roads out of recycled plastics, which would have a drastic impact of doing away with plastic waste from the environment and helping address the problem of solid waste pollution in the Philippines.

SMC has been working with the multinational company Dow Chemicals for the project that will involve the use of polypropylene, polyethylene, and other variants of plastic, as an alternative raw material input to asphalt.

When I checked with them, they told me that the use of plastic for modifying the properties of bitumen, used in the making of asphalt, has been tested in Thailand, India, and Indonesia. It’s interesting to note that among the plastic wastes that can be used in this process include: Polyethylene (plastic bags, food wrappers, plastic bottles; polypropylene (plastic food containers with lids, utensils, cups; instant noodle cup containers, straws), and polyethelene terephthalate or PET (disposable coffee cups, various containers, plastic water bottles).Polystyrene (styro containers) and multi-layer plastics used in packaging sachets of shampoos, soap, and other consumer products, may also be used for the project.

It appears that it provides improved stability and durability of roads; increased skid resistance, which improves road safety; longer lifespan of roads; lower asphalt costs, and less waste destined for landfills.

Last week, I got to see the first actual implantation of this project. It looked really good! I’m hoping others will follow the initiatives of SMC in making their infra projects more environment-friendly.

With SMC in the forefront of infrastructure development in the Philippines, undertaking infrastructure projects to propel the Philippines into a brighter future, doing it with a green objective.

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Last week I wrote about the major types of bicycles that can be, and are being used for cycling to work.

Unfortunately, I missed out on a type of bicycle which has been gaining a lot of interest in the recent years, even if the first one was built way back in 1887. This type of bicycle is one more probably most suited for cycling in the metropolis. It’s the folding bicycle.

It’s probably the most sensible bicycle to use, as it can be brought on to the MRT. I tried it before, and they allowed me to ride the train with my Brompton folding bike (although I had to fold it before entering the train). It’s easy to pedal, provides adequate rear suspension (for some models), can be brought in the office and just stored at the side of your office or cubicle. The folding bike can be conveniently brought with you when you travel, without incurring additional baggage fees for oversize luggage.

The prices of the folding bikes is also not limiting. In the upper end of the spectrum, you can get a titanium folding bike, or choose to go the opposite end of the spectrum and get a used Japanese folding bicycle which is being sold by some sellers for less than ₱5,000 in Manila. You can get one with a single gear drivetrain, or get one with multiple gears (usually in an internal mechanism in the rear hub). The riding position of the cyclist is more upright, thus less strenuous on your back (or your stomach for those with a fuller dad-bod). I usually keep my folding bicycle inside my car, without need to re-arrange the clutter in the back, or the need to lower the rear seats.

And with more streets hopefully more environment-friendly, and more people cycling to work for health and wellness (not to forget avoiding being stuck in the traffic), the future does look bright.