Railway Ban Use of Plastic
Ministry of Railways has directed all Railway units to enforce ban on single use plastic material, with less than 50 micron thickness from 2nd October, 2019, as per the Press Release on 21.08.2019. Emphasis is on making necessary arrangements to minimize generation of plastic waste and its eco- friendly disposal.
Ban Use of Plastic : Railway Circular
In this regard, Ministry of Railways has issued a circular stating the following instructions are to be enforced: w.e.f. 02.10.2019:
- Ban on single use plastic material
- All railway vendors to avoid use of plastic carry bags
- Staff should reduce, refuse plastic products and to use inexpensive reusable bags to reduce plastic footprint.
- IRCTC to implement return of plastic drinking water bottles as part of Extended Producer Responsibility.
- Plastic Bottle crushing machines to be provided expeditiously.
Strict enforcement of these instructions is to be from 02.10.2019, to give enough time to all concerned to prepare for “Plastic Free Railway”. Ministry of Railways has also instructed its Railway units that a pledge can be administered on 2nd October, 2019 to cut use of plastics.
Plastic Ban at Railway Stations
In April 2018, the government of Maharastra announced a complete ban on single-use plastic carry bags and thermocol cutlery.
Banning manufacturing, use, storing, distribution, wholesale, retail sale, import and transportation of all kinds of plastic bags (with or without handle), single-use disposable items made of plastic and thermocol — dish, cups, plates, glasses, fork, bowls, forks, spoons, straw, containers, non-woven polypropylene bags, pouches to store liquid, plastic to wrap or store products and packaging of food items. It has also banned plastic and thermocol items used for decoration purpose.
In case of violation, manufacturers and users will be fined Rs 5,000. But the government has said it will start taking punitive action only after June 23. Following this Indian Railway also decide to implement plastic ban at Railway Stations for the sake of environment and to protect passengers health.
Central Railway commuters may soon get eatables in paper plates, cups and cardboard boxes at stations, a famous Newspaper reported. In a high-level meeting on Friday, Central Railway decided to completely stop purchase of plastic, a material banned by the Maharashtra government.
Railway catering staff, Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) officials and railway station stall owners were present at the meeting. “We have asked all stall owners and catering officials to stop getting plastic products. They need to finish the existing stock. We will gradually introduce paper plates, cups and cardboard boxes,” said a senior Central Railway official privy to the development.
The railways currently distribute pantry food in plastic containers on trains and sell products at stations in plastic packets. Central Railway will hold another meeting on May 10 to look for alternatives to plastic spoons that are served with meals on long-distance trains. “We have asked companies, manufacturers of paper products and cardboard boxes to attend the meet. Stall vendors and IRCTC officials, too, will be there. Central Railway is likely to take a call on plastic cutlery served to passengers. The railways plan to come up with a dos and don’ts manual,” said the official.
Buyback Policy : Plastic Ban at Railway Stations
Under the buyback policy, people can bring back plastic bottles to food stalls and get a refund, a step the government feels will help implement the plastic ban. The policy has already been implemented and stalls refusing to give a refund will be penalised after June 23.
In a meeting held last week between licensees of catering stalls on railway stations and senior railway officials, catering staff sought clarity on dealing with plastic brought into the city by passengers from other states. According to them, passengers from elsewhere might bring back plastic bottles to stalls at railway stations in Mumbai and seek refund under a buyback scheme.
“We are equally a part of the jurisdiction and will be implementing the ban on our premises. We will also ask our staff to check if any catering staff are continuing to use plastic on railway premises,” said Shailendra Kumar, Chief Commercial Manager, Central Railway.
“We will make the railways an implementing or enforcement agency for the plastic ban,” said Satish Gavai, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment department.
Another state government official said, “Firstly, there is no need to pay for plastic bottles where the deposit amount is not printed as the buyback policy is only in Maharashtra. So, such bottles need to be just collected. For those with deposit amount printed, retailers would need to pay refund. They will be reimbursed by the government from a corpus.”