The Central Railways has planned to deal with plastic menace by exploring the possibility of implementing a buyback policy for plastic bottles along with installing plastic bottle crushing machines on major stations.
KEY-FACTS OF THE POLICY
- With the Maharashtra state is all set to implement a statewide ban on plastic from June 23, the Central Railways is exploring the possibility of implementing a buyback policy for plastic bottles.
- In addition to the buyback policy, the sector is also planning to install plastic bottle crushing machines at major railway stations.
PLASTIC, A HUGE PROBLEM
- The biggest challenge that the railways face is that of plastic containers, including bottles, entering Maharashtra from other States.
- Within Maharashtra state, the State Government is proposing to have plastic bottles with a buyback price printed on it.
- The sector is considering extending the buyback policy only for approved manufacturers of the railways and on bottles that print the buyback price.
- The further details of the plan will only be finalized once the State decides its policy.
- Storage: The challenge will be to implement the buyback mechanism, as many stall managers and owners have highlighted the issue of storage space for the returned bottles.
- Collective efforts: The scheme will be successful only if all the stakeholders participate and make collective efforts in the initiative.
- Timely implementation: There will be a need for a mechanism of collecting the old bottles periodically,otherwise; there will be a pile-up of plastic bottles.
- Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC)is separately discussing plans to frame a buyback plan for water-vending machines, which provide water in plastic cups as well as in one-liter bottles.
- The body has stated that it will take appropriate measures to replace plastic with suitable paper or equivalent bio-degradable options at water-vending machines.
BENEFITS OF THE INITIATIVE
- Curb plastic: There is an urgent need to curb garbage (mainly plastic) thrown on tracks and platforms. This move will curb the problem of plastic from the rail premises.
- Controlling pollution: Unless the railways do not ensure that plastic is not thrown in rail premises with rigid policies, it will be difficult to control the problem of pollution. This initiative will inspire the commuters to keep the railway free from pollution.
- Clean railways: Despite the availability of garbage bins for dry and wet waste, people end up throwing plastic on the tracks. Various steps are being taken through this initiative to reduce the use of plastic at stations by the vendors.
India's railways are among the largest systems in the world. But, the problem of plastic pollution is daunting the well-extended system. The sector is gearing up to tackle the 6,289 tons of plastic that litter its tracks every day. This plastic waste chokes drain or becomes embedded in the soil which lowers agricultural productivity. The initiative is expected to attract commuters to not throw plastic anywhere in the rail premises and throw it in the plastic crushing machines, thus, cleaning railway premises and environment.