From October 2, 2019, the Indian railways have enforced a ban on single-use plastic materials on their trains and as well stations across the country. The initiative has been taken to promote an eco-friendly environment.
The authorities have processed the installation of 1,853 plastic water bottle crushing machines at 360 major stations in the first phase. As part of Extended Producer Responsibility, the Railway Board asked Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Development Corporation (IRCTC) to initiate return of plastic drinking bottles.
The General Managers of Zonal Railways have been asked to advise railway stalls and hawkers to minimise the usage of plastic bags. The employees were also asked to reduce, reuse and refuse plastic products. They were also asked to promote the use of inexpensive reusable bags.
This move has been taken in the interest of avoiding plastic waste generation. The alarming issue of plastic bags being overused and not recycled is destroying the ecosystem. Furthermore, the railways is seen as a prime "Waste Generator" as per what the Railway Board communication said. Thus for effective waste management, plastic usage is to be minimised, and wise plastic disposal methods should be practised.
As per the rules, single-use plastics are not permitted to be less than 50 microns, except where the thickness of such plastic sheets impairs the functionality of the product.
On 15th August, during his independence day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also urged the citizens to avoid single-use plastic and called for a ban on single-use plastic. "Can we free India from single-use plastic? The time for implementing such an idea has come. Many teams are to be mobilised to work in this direction. Let a significant step be made on 2nd October," said Modi.
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