Swachh Railways: A Journey Towards Swachh Bharat
The sheer size of the Indian Railways poses a huge challenge for keeping it clean and tidy. The quantity of waste and trash generated when a route length surpassing 66,000 kms dotted by around 8,000 stations and used by more than 8,100 million passengers each year is enormous.
Railways is committed to keep India’s most preferred mode of transportation clean and hygienic. Therefore, consequent to the launch of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ on October 2, 2014 by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Indian Railways launched ‘Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ to achieve the vision of ‘Clean India’ by October 2, 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of the ‘Father of the Nation’, Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhiji not only advocated cleanliness but also environment friendly practices. These two are interrelated in the green initiatives of the Indian Railways. The bio-toilets inside LHB coaches and solid waste management are good examples of eco-friendly technology being used for cleanliness. Railways has taken several initiatives which reaffirm its dedication towards a cleaner India. Some of the decisions taken are:
- Target for completion of installation of Bio-toilets preponed to December, 2018. A total of 34,014 bio-toilets were installed in 2016–2017 as compared to 1,917 toilets in 2009–2014 to promote cleanliness. Fitment of Bio-toilets in coaches will prevent discharge of human waste, during train journeys, directly onto the track. Additional toilets at various railway stations are being built including pay & use toilets.
2. Vacuum assisted toilets to provide greater hygiene are planned to be installed in 2018–19.
3. Bottle crushing machines to be provided at major stations to ensure cleanliness.
4. There will be separate dustbins for collections of biodegradable (wet waste) and non-biodegradable (dry waste) on the platforms and stations.
5. Railway zones will train cleaning duty staff at railway stations for separate collection and further handling for final disposal of segregated dry and wet waste from the dustbins.
6. The facility of on-board cleaning has been extended to more than 780 trains. It will be monitored through an APP based passenger feedback system- Coach-Mitra and Clean My Coach.
7. Third party survey on cleanliness indicators is being done to assess the effectiveness of cleanliness activities.
8. Weekly intensive cleanliness drives have been undertaken at various railway stations in rotation by different railway zones.