Over 20,000 empty plastic water bottles that are discarded everyday by passengers travelling in trains passing through the Ahmedabad railway station will now be recycled. Last week, the Western Railway (WR) installed a bottle crushing machine to help recycle the plastic waste generated daily at the station, a top official of the railway said.

“On an average, more than 20,000 empty water bottles are discarded at the railway station. We found it difficult to dispose of this kind of waste. We were not able to either transport them or clean them on a regular basis. To tackle this menace, a bottle crushing machine was installed on platform number 12,” said Pradeep Sharma, Public Relations Officer, Western Railway.

This machine has the capacity to crush 1000 bottles per hour. “Earlier we used to employ people to collect these bottles and pay Rs 5,000-10,000 per month. But, now the firm that has installed the bottle crushing machine is paying us an annual lease of Rs 1,00,000. This not only help maintain the station clean but also earn additional revenue,” Sharma said about the machine that was installed on October 2 as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.

The machine is sponsored by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways.

“Women from a non-governmental organisation — SAATH Foundation — are employed to collect the discarded bottles. We also have a group of local boys who assist us in collecting the bottles. When a train terminates at the station, these boys enter the train and collect the bottles. A train like Shatabdi or a Duranto generates over 1,500 bottles daily,” said Joyal Rodrigues, who was operating the machine at the station.

The railway authorities also use the 80-odd CCTV cameras to keep a tab on offenders. “There is a visible change as far as cleanliness at the station is concerned. There are strict orders from the railway authorities to keep the surroundings clean. We have also been asked to instruct passengers to use the dustbin,” said Babusinh Chauhan, a stall-keeper at the station.

“Since April 1, 2014, a total of 4,141 cases — littering, spitting and smoking — have been registered and we have collected over Rs 4 lakh in fines from passengers,” said Sharma, the PRO.

Source Indian Express