Railways will be the first major government organisation to ban single use plastic material from October. Barely a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked people to shun single-use plastic from October 2, the Indian Railways is taking steps towards keeping its premises totally free of single-use plastics.
The Railway board has issued a circular to all regional offices, asking the officers in charge to ensure that plastic of thickness below 50 microns is not used, ‘except where the thickness of such plastic sheets impair the product’s functionality’. The ban will be strictly enforced on Railway stations and other properties across the country.
Also, as part of ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’, zonal offices will ensure plastic bottles are collected and safely disposed of. Bottle crushing machines will be expeditiously provided for this purpose, the circular said. In addition, the Railways will work with vendors at Railway platforms to encourage them not to use single use plastics.
Railway board chairman V K Yadav has even sent a personal message to all the general managers and divisional railway managers (DRMs) appealing all officers to take up the task on mission mode.
“As you are aware, honourable Prime Minister has called for ban on use of single use plastic during his Independence Day speech. GMs/ DRMs/ all officials of IR are requested to launch a drive for strictly enforcing ban on use of single use plastic on railway premises...Let us ensure as a team that use of single use plastic is totally removed from railway premises by October 2, 2019,” Yadav said.
General Managers of Zonal Railways and Production Units were told to encourage all railway vendors to avoid use of plastic carry bags. Railway employees were also advised to reduce, reuse and refuse plastic products and to use inexpensive reusable bags to reduce plastic footprint.
India’s former Environment minister Harsh Vardhan had earlier said the country would try to phase out single use plastic by 2022. At the moment, 20 states across India have implemented full or partial bans on single-use plastic products.