K Devanshu Dev | The TrickyScribe: Indian Railways is installing plastic bottle crushing machines at 2,000 railway stations across the country joining hands against the menace of plastic waste. The stations selected are spread across 16 zones and 70 divisions of the Indian Railway network.
While tenders will be invited for the installation, operation and subsequent maintenance of the crushing units at comparatively larger railway stations for a fixed term of eight years, the needs of the smaller ones will be catered to with the help of corporates. Successful bidders will have to ensure viability and upgrade technology from time to time.
“At a time when plastics in general, and plastic bottles in particular, are being widely recognized as being extremely harmful to the environment, we are undertaking concrete steps to raise awareness to battle the plastic menace,” a senior Railways official acquainted with the decision apprised The TrickyScribe. There is a huge consumption of plastic bottles for cold drinks and water every day at stations across the country.
Comptroller and Auditor General, in a 2009 report, said that over 6,289 tonnes of plastic waste is discarded onto India’s railway tracks. The installation of crushers is a step is to prevent travelers from throwing used plastic bottles on the tracks or in the station premises.
Crusher machines would be installed at platforms and at the exit points so that passengers willing to discard their plastic bottles can deposit them in the flaking machine. The machine automatically starts and stops depending upon the volume of plastic bottles deposited. The bottles inserted disintegrate into fine pieces of plastic which are then released from a different outlet only to be recycled later.
The plastic pieces will be given to the plastic manufacturers, thus saving the landfills from additional plastic pollutants. All 16 zones and 70 divisions have been instructed to install the plastic bottle crushing machines at 2,000 stations in the first phase, said the official.
Used plastic bottles were disposed of manually as of now. There is a need to curb garbage thrown on tracks either by rail commuters or by those staying in illegal slums along the tracks. Indian Railways has given RITES the responsibility of providing project management consultancy for selecting the agencies for installing and maintaining the crushers.