Indian Railways goes eco-friendly! In a bid to become environment-friendly, Piyush Goyal-chaired Railway Ministry has undertaken various measures over the past few years. From setting up solar power plants at railway stations to installing bio-toilets in train coaches, multiple steps have been taken by the Railway Ministry as a part of the Go-Green Initiative. Apart from these measures, the national transporter has also put a ban on the use of single-use plastic material, with less than 50 micron thickness, starting from 2 October 2019. We take a look at the top 5 recent eco-friendly steps implemented by the Railway Ministry on Indian Railways’ network:
1) Plastic ban: Indian Railways has imposed a ban on single-use plastic material, with less than 50 micron thickness. All vendors On Indian Railways premises have been directed to avoid the use of plastic carry bags and also, all railway officials have been asked to reduce, reuse and refuse plastic items. Moreover, plastic bottle crushing machines have also been installed at various stations.
2) Use of Kulhads: Indian Railways has once again started encouraging the use of terracotta-made 'kulhads' at stations. Varanasi and Rae Bareli stations have already started using terracotta-made 'kulhads', glasses and plates. The move is being implemented by the ministry to shift towards plastic-free operations.
3) Electrification: The national transporter is aiming to become the world’s first-of-its-kind big railway network to be fully electrified and also to be the first-ever 'Net-Zero' railway. Piyush Goyal recently said that Indian Railways is implementing electrification at a very fast pace. The Modi government electrified a total of 5,200 km of railway lines last year, he said.
4) Solar panels: Indian Railways is also setting up solar panels over rooftops at stations and railway buildings. Earlier this year, the national transporter planned to install 1000 MW solar power by 2020-2021. According to Indian Railways, the move would help the transporter to source about 10% of electrical energy from renewable source. Many railway stations have already started making use of solar energy including Anand Vihar Terminal, Hazrat Nizamuddin and New Delhi railway station.
5) Bio-toilets: Over the last few years, several bio-toilets have been installed in train coaches. Last year, the Railway Minister announced that by this year, the national transporter will have 100% bio-toilets in trains, making rail tracks free of open defecation and hence improving the overall environment. According to Goyal, defecation on tracks is unhygienic as well as unsafe as the tracks are damaged because of the uric acid, causing railway accidents.