THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the Southern Railway going green, the authorities are taking steps to promote renewable energy and a better environment. From the installation of bio-toilets to the electrification of railway tracks, the Railways is making great strides to make the network more environment-friendly. As part of the green initiative and to save electricity costs, Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station has started installing rooftop solar panels with a capacity of 250 kilowatt.
The authorities have started to replace the asbestos sheets with galvalume roofing tiles to set up solar panels. “About 50 per cent of the solar panels have already been installed and the rest will soon be completed. Initially, we thought of using wind energy but more land is needed. So, we chose solar panels,” said Ajay Kaushik, station director.
As an alternative to single-use plastic, railway authorities and vendors at the Central station have introduced alternatives such as paper cups, steel plates and metal tumblers to be used while serving food to passengers. As a trial, the railway authorities have identified five to six stalls at the station where metal tumblers are used for serving tea. “On average, 100 to 120 tumblers are being used in each stall everyday. The feedback is good and there has been a 40 to 50 per cent reduction in plastic waste,” said Kaushik.
Although the IRCTC has replaced plastic cups with paper and steel cups, other alternatives to serve food are welcome. The authorities have considered using bagasse containers made from sugarcane fibres to serve eatables, but they are yet to sort out the cost factor. Also, the shelf life of bagasse is less and it needs to be used within a week as, when exposed to moisture for long, mold is formed.
“We support the decision of the railway authorities and are presently using metal tumblers to serve tea. We have stopped using plastic sheets to cover food,” said Remani, a vendor. “ After the ban on single-use plastics, we had started using paper cups to serve tea and now we are using metal tumblers,” said Shyam Kumar, another vendor.
For a better future
● About 50 per cent of the solar panels have already been installed and the rest will soon be completed
● Railway authorities and vendors at the Central station have introduced alternatives such as paper cups, steel plates and metal tumblers
● On average, 100 to 120 tumblers are being used in each stall everyday. There has been a 40 to 50 per cent reduction in plastic waste