Railways to install plastic crushing units at stations

Railways to install plastic crushing units at stations

File photo.

To deal with the mounting plastic waste generated at its stations, the Indian Railways is planning to install plastic bottle crushing machines at major stations across the country.

The national transporter wants to crush the huge amount of plastic waste produced in stations, mostly water bottles and packaged drinks and give it to plastic manufacturers for recycling.

The refrigerator-size crushing units will be installed at exit gates of railway stations and platforms so that passengers can dump empty bottles in it, an official said.

The machine will crush bottles and other plastics into fine pieces. The same can be used for recycling.

In the first phase such units will be installed in around 1000 stations and subsequently, it will be expanded to remaining stations. The railway network has around 7,300 stations.

Lack of proper disposal mechanism of bottles is forcing passengers to them at station premises or on the tracks, which end up chocking drains, said the official.

At present plastic waste like bottles are being collected manually by cleaning staff.

Under corporate social responsibility, some of the railway stations in India including Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Secunderabad, Kachiguda, few stations in Mumbai and Pune have already installed such units, said the official.

To encourage passengers to use the facility, in Vadodara innovative measures have been implemented where passengers get Rs 5 cash back in Paytm wallet for each bottle inserted into the crushing machine. For getting cash back, the passenger has to enter mobile number in the machine after putting the bottle.

The railways has entrusted RITES to manage the project and select agencies to install crushing units at stations.

Increasing plastic waste and its disposal is the biggest challenge in India. Of the around 25, 000 tonnes of plastic generated in the country in the year only  60 % is being recycled, according to the Ministry of Environment and Forests.