Mumbai: For the first time in the world plastic-free trials have been undertaken on international flights. The trial run involved four flights by Hi Fly, a Portuguese airline. The first flight made its way into history books when it took off from Lisbon for its destination, Natal in Brazil on December 26, 2018. The first flight that went to Brazil returned to Lisbon a week later. Over 700 passengers took part in the trial flights.
We couldn’t be prouder of being the first airline to perform a completely Single Use Plastic Free Flight. The first step to our ultimate goal to turn all our flights completely Single Use #PlasticFree by the end of 2019, the airline tweeted.
We couldn't be prouder of being the first airline to perform a completely Single Use Plastic Free Flight. The first step to our ultimate goal to turn all our flights completely Single Use #PlasticFree by the end of 2019. #TurntheTideonPlastic #A340 #9HSUN pic.twitter.com/sTLl6eDCBk
— Hi Fly (@hifly_airline) December 27, 2018
Among the scores single use plastic items that have been replaced include cups, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, sick bags, packaging for bedding, dishes, individual butter pots, soft drink bottles and toothbrushes. Experts on environment were roped in by the airline and Mirpuri Foundation, an NGO working towards a sustainable future, to get eco-friendly alternatives. From bamboo cutlery, an array of paper packaging to containers that can be readily composted are being used on the four trial flights.
Commenting ahead of the take-off, Mirpuri Foundation and Hi Fly President Paulo Mirpuri in a press release announced the airline’s ambitious plan to make all its flights plastic-free by end of 2019,
This historic Hi Fly flight, without any single-use plastic items on board, underlines our commitment to making Hi Fly the world’s first ‘plastics-free’ airline within 12 months. The test flights will prevent around 350 kilos of single-use, virtually indestructible plastics form poisoning our environment.
He further added,
Over 100,000 flights take off each day around the world and, last year, commercial aircraft carried nearly four billion passengers. This number is expected to double again in less than 20 years. So, the potential to make a difference here is clearly enormous. The test flights will help us trial the many substitute items we have developed and introduced, in a real-world environment. We know we may encounter some initial teething problems, but we are confident of addressing these over the coming months.
The two flights on December 26, received a positive feedback from the passengers and the flight crew.
I think this is an extremely important step to reduce plastic pollution. We must all contribute towards saving the environment, said one of the passengers on the plastic-free flight to Brazil.
It is estimated that close to 40 million flights will operate in 2019 and each flight contain multiple single use plastic items like cups, spoons, sick bags, packaging for bedding, dishes, soft drink bottles, and so on. If calculated, tonnes of plastic waste will be generated through air travel and aggravate the plastic crisis affecting the planet. In this light, the trial plastic free flight assumes importance.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.