Mumbai: Indian Railways, which boasts of having the fourth-largest railway network in the world, is also infamous for its cleanliness standards. As trains speed across stations, passengers frequently throw garbage out of their windows onto the tracks. In addition, commuters waiting on platforms do not think twice before casually indulging in littering despite having bins. In a bid to bring about a change in this litter culture, the Mysuru City Railway Station has brought in a solution in the form of plastic bottles crushers.
The authorities of Mysuru division of South Western Railway recently installed a plastic bottle crusher machine on Platform 1 for passengers who want to discard their plastic bottles. Commuters can deposit their used plastic bottles in the flaking machine. Depending on the volume of plastic bottles deposited the machine automatically starts and stops. The inserted bottles disintegrate into fine pieces of plastic which is then released from a different outlet.
Talking about the litter menace of in the stations, Atul Gupta, Mysuru divisional railway manager says,
The litter culture is prevalent in all parts of our country and railway tracks are an example of that. Despite having sufficient manpower, it is difficult to remove the plastic bottles completely. And it is also difficult to regularly transport the plastic bottles collected by workers.
On an average, the Mysuru station records a footfall of 62,000 commuters and more than 20,000 plastic bottles are discarded everyday.
The machine, which costs a little over three lakhs, serves dual purpose adds Mr Gupta, “The plastic bottle crushers is a concept which has recently percolated in the country and hence there is curiosity among people about. This curiosity will hopefully lead in people dumping their bottles into the machines instead and thereby putting an end to the litter menace.”
“Besides, the plastic pieces will be given to the plastic manufacturers, thus saving the landfills from additional plastic pollutants.” The authorities are in the process of entering into a Memoranda of Understanding with the manufacturers for collecting the crushed pieces of plastic. The crished pieces of plastic can be used to in manufacturing of plastic items further. In return the railway division is expecting to generate revenue out of it.
The timing of installing the machine is apt says the official. Considering that summer is just around the corner, the consumption of plastic bottles will automatically rise due to the scorching heat, thanks to packaged water bottles. Hence, the machine will, hopefully be used a lot more and serve its purpose of reducing the littered plastic waste.
The authorities are also likely to come up with plastic crushers at other stations under its division hinted Mr Gupta, “We currently exploring the ways to get finance for our projects.”
According a report in 2009 by the Comptroller and Auditor General, approximately 6,289 tonnes of plastic waste is discarded onto India’s railway tracks. The West Central Railways has already set up such machines in several of its stations including Mumbai, Pune, Bhopal and Ahmedabad.