KSRTC’s water bottle drive comes under fire

Expressing concerns over waste management, Anil from Alappuzha, a frequent KSRTC user, commented on the negligence in handling waste at bus stands.
Discarded plastic water bottles at the KSRTC bus station in Kochi
Discarded plastic water bottles at the KSRTC bus station in Kochi

KOCHI: Even as the KSRTC has partnered with Hilly Aqua to provide bottled drinking water to passengers, the lack of a proper facility to dispose of the used bottles has drawn criticism.

The KSRTC entered into a collaboration with Hilly Aqua, a public-sector enterprise under Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (KIIDC), to provide drinking water to passengers for Rs 15. The facility is being provided in KSRTC buses of superfast tier and above.

“The primary objective of the scheme is to ensure availability of pure drinking water to passengers at the most economical prices possible,” stated Shiju B S, estate officer at KSRTC.

However, the initiative has sparked a debate over its environmental ramifications, particularly regarding the rise in plastic waste. Liya, a resident of Ayankulam, criticised the scheme’s potential to turn plastic waste management even more difficult.

“Even though various initiatives have been introduced for plastic waste management, there seems to be a consistent issue of people not fully adhering to rules, rendering the drives ineffective,” she said.

Expressing concerns over waste management, Anil from Alappuzha, a frequent KSRTC user, commented on the negligence in handling waste at bus stands.

“It’s not uncommon to find even 20 plastic bottles in one bus,” he said, pointing out the irony of such waste generation amid Kerala’s ban on plastic straws in 2019.

The initiative has also raised questions on its alignment with Kerala’s efforts to maintain its green branding, which is crucial for the state’s tourism. Critics suggest looking towards models like the Karnataka RTC, which took steps to ban plastic bottles in buses and encourage campaigns like Bring Your Bottle (BYOB), as sustainable alternatives.

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