To mark the World Environment Day, Indian Railways has started serving breakfast and other meals to passengers in biodegradable bagasse bowls on eight select Shatabdi Express trains, and meals in biodegradable trays in Rajdhani Express trains, originating from Delhi.
Indian Railways goes eco-friendly! To mark the World Environment Day, Indian Railways has started serving breakfast and other meals to passengers in biodegradable bagasse bowls on eight select Shatabdi Express trains, and meals in biodegradable trays in Rajdhani Express trains, originating from Delhi. The step has been taken keeping in view that Indian Railways, which is one of the largest public transporters of the world, is used by more than 20 million passengers on a daily basis. Therefore, a large amount of waste is generated by it, with major railway stations alone producing 670 tonnes of solid waste daily, of which nearly half is the plastic waste.
Initially, only breakfast bowls and three compartment meal trays, which are used to serve lunch and dinner to passengers on trains will be biodegradable. While plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose, bagasse decomposes in 60 days. Bagasse are the remains after the extraction of sugar cane juice. The Indian Railways has to provide 1.5 million meal trays as well as 1.5 million breakfast bowls, in order to meet the requirement for even 32 trains, according to an HT report.
According to Siddharth Singh, a spokesperson for the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the move will help to minimize non-biodegradable waste like plastic and aluminium. IRCTC, which is the catering arm of Indian Railways, provides catering in 10 to 15 per cent of 12,000 odd trains as the service in other trains of Indian Railways is outsourced by private players.
The report quoted Ved Krishna, Managing Director of Yash Papers, a manufacturer of the non- biodegradable items saying that they have seen people travelling on Indian Railways for a very long time and it is painful to see the waste generated by them. He said that in the cities, there is a garbage dump on both sides of the railway tracks and in the country-side also there is litter around the railway lines.
The cost of the trays could increase from Rs 1-5 presently. Once the trials are completed successfully, bagasse based packaging will be introduced to all Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, and Duranto Express trains, which are managed by IRCTC in the coming months.