Indian Railways to ban single-use plastic from October 2

Indian Railways to ban single-use plastic from October 2
In a circular, the transporter has urged all vendors and railway staffs across Indian Railways to use reusable bags to reduce plastic footprint (Picture Courtesy: Rajendra B. Aklekar)

With a goal of ‘Plastic Free Railway’, the Indian Railways on Wednesday directed all units to enforce a ban on single-use plastic, with less than 50-micron thickness, from October 2, 2019 on its premises and trains.

The decision comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, urged people to discard single-use plastic from October 2, on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Ministry of Railways directed the Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to implement the return of plastic drinking water bottles as a part of Extended Producer Responsibility.

It also urged the corporation to complete the installation of 1,853 plastic water bottle crushing machines at 360 major stations on priority.

In a circular, the Railways said the emphasis is on making necessary arrangements to minimise the generation of plastic waste and its eco-friendly disposal.

It also urged all vendors and railway staffs across Indian Railways to use reusable bags to reduce plastic footprint.

“Strict enforcement of these instructions is to be from October 2, 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 October 2 to cut the use of plastics,” the circular read.

“Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) measures are to be adapted to create awareness among railway users,” it added.

The following will be enforced with effect from October 2 this year:

1) Ban on single-use plastic material.
2) All railway vendors to avoid the use of plastic carry bags.
3) Staff should reduce, reuse and refuse plastic products and use inexpensive reusable bags to reduce plastic footprint.
4) IRCTC to implement the return of plastic drinking water bottles as part of Extended Producer Responsibility.
5) Plastic Bottle crushing machines to be provided expeditiously.

Earlier this week, the Lok Sabha Secretariat banned the use of “non-reusable plastic water bottles and other plastic items” within the Parliament House Complex.

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