From England comes the fairly amazing details of that country’s metal-theft problems – an international crime ring costing authorities around a million dollars a month – and one relatively novel idea for tackling manhole cover theft: making covers and grates out of plastic, which has very, very little value – if any – as scrap.
It seems like an obvious solution, on the surface, so you have to wonder why it hasn’t been tried before. My educated guess is that there are rather a number of problems with this plan that haven’t been fully examined: tensile strength of the new lids, for one; is the plastic as strong as cast iron? If it’s overweighted, how does it fail: flexing and cracking, or completely shattering? Does the plastic degrade with exposure to sunlight? Exhaust fumes? Hydrogen sulfide? How abrasion resistant is it, compared to iron?
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