Railways supports environment
S Vishnu Sharma, INN/Chennai, @Svs037
National Rail Museum in New Delhi was hub of activity when Union Railway Ministry observed World Environment Day celebrations on June 6. The celebrations began with a big bang and a strong assurance that Indian Railways is firmly committed towards environment sustainability.
Rajesh Agrawal, member (rolling stock), Railway Board said the stress on cleanliness has been immense in the railways in the past, the impact of this has been noticeable, he said. Introduction of bio-toilets has helped railway premises becoming stench free.
In promoting green environment and renewable energy, Railways has taken measures like accelerating electrification at a fast pace and installing solar panels in railway premises, said Rajesh Agarwal.
Railways look forward to continue to collaborate with TERI in seeking environment friendly techniques. The moment has arrived to go for ‘Shift to Rail.’ Doing this on the logistics front will not only bring a significant drop in logistics transportation cost but also will enable environment protection.
Best performing production unit prize was allotted to Rail Wheel Factory at Yelahanka in Bengaluru during the celebration. Test launch of mobile app for On Board House Keeping Services on important Trains was also held on the occasion.
It is interesting to note that Railways has as part of its initiative for green buildings, eight production units and 42 major workshops are certified to ISO 14001, 38 diesel sheds, 61 coaching depots, 21 freight depots and eight electric loco sheds, three MEMU/DEMU car sheds, two engineering workshops and one stores depot have been certified.
Sanitary napkin vending machines and incinerators are being installed at a number of stations. MOUs have been signed with states for planting of trees on vacant railway land to increase carbon sink.
Use of plastics of less than 20 micron thickness in packaging is banned across railways. About 166 plastic bottle crushing machines have been set up at 128 stations.
Apart from focus on water recycling plants and rain water harvesting, a number of old/dead water bodies have been revived. IRCTC has been mandated to install Water Vending Machines (WVM) on stations.
Indian Railways is a lead signatory to India’s NDC by committing to reduce 20 percent of fresh water consumption by 2030 and to reduce carbon emission by 32 percent over the base year 2005 by improving rail traction energy and fuel efficiency. Indian Railway has planned various initiatives to meet its commitment on sustainability.