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Great step! Indian Railways to recharge mobile phones of passengers using plastic bottle crushers at stations

Devanjana Nag

Indian Railways’ smart move to junk single-use plastic! Taking a step to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to junk single-use plastic, Piyush Goyal-chaired Railway Ministry has come up with an interesting plan. From now on, the national transporter will help recharge mobile phones of passengers if they use plastic bottle crushing machines installed at railway stations, according to a PTI report. PM Modi in his Independence Day speech had appealed to the nation to eliminate single-use plastic and also he urged the public to find alternatives for plastic water bottles on a priority basis. A few days ago, the Railway Ministry issued directions that starting October 2 this year, single-use plastic will not be used on Indian Railways premises.

Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav was quoted in the report saying that the national transporter will install as many as 400 bottle crushing machines at railway stations in which a passenger wanting to use them for crushing plastic bottles will have to key in his phone number into the machine and his mobile phone will be recharged.

According to Yadav, a total of 160 bottle crushing machines are available at 128 railway stations, at present. He further said that Indian Railways employees have been instructed to collect all the used plastic bottles that are found at railway stations and send them for recycling. The Railway Ministry has already given directions to its employees and vendors to use reusable bags so that the plastic footprint can be reduced. On October 2 this year, a pledge will be administered to cut the use of plastic, the report said.

Recently, Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi said that the South Western Railway zone was in talks with some artisans from Karnataka to supply ‘kulhads’ for serving tea on trains, instead of the plastic cups. According to the minister, the initiative to shift towards plastic-free operations will financially help artisans and farmers as demand for their items/products will increase.