By Elton Gomes
Although the plastic ban has not been extended to airlines, some Indian carriers are making significant efforts to use greener options such as biodegradable cutlery and paper straws.
A spokesperson from Vistara airlines stated the use of plastic onboard is very less since the airline promised to reduce plastic use by half by adopting innovative, environment-friendly, and cost-effective methods in June. The airline also plans to replace plastic casseroles with aluminium dishes, and plastic straws and stirrers with paper or wooden ones. Additionally, disposable bowls in the economy class will be replaced with reusable ones.
Echoing Vistara’s thoughts of going green, a Jet Airways spokesperson said that the airline uses paper cups, bio-degradable bags, and insulated boxes for hot and cold items.
In addition to Vistara and Jet Airways, GoAir also decided to go green, “We now serve food and beverages that do not require the use of plastic cutlery. All banned plastic items have been removed from our aircraft. We are working towards extending this initiative countrywide,” a GoAir spokesperson told the Times of India.
The plastic ban
The Maharashtra government sought to ban plastic products in the state. However, a lack of clarity on banned items has caused significant discontent among several people. According to the Economic Times, successive changes within the last four months involving the ban on PET bottles has thrown the beverages, alcohol, and consumer goods industry into confusion.
On June 23, the Maharashtra government finally decided to ban plastic products and announced that those found using banned plastic items will be fined. Although the government’s step may have caused some discomfort, the ban has been welcomed by environmentalists. Previously, the Indian government has taken steps to lower the use of plastic.
Steps taken to go green
In an attempt to “beat plastic pollution,” the Indian embassy in the UAE and the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment joined hands to reduce their plastic footprint. The two entities came together on the occasion of World Environment Day.
Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said, “Eight million tonnes of plastic make their way into the oceans each year, and by 2050 the world’s oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight.” Dr Thani added, “With gloomy facts such as these, the world needs to step up and join hands in raising awareness and inspiring a more decisive action to generate solutions,” as reported by the Khaleej Times.
Prior to the airlines deciding to go green, it was reported that the Indian railways will soon be serving their meals in eco-friendly disposable plates. In taking steps towards going green, the Indian railways were to serve food in plates made of bagasse, the fibrous remains after extracting sugarcane juice. The scheme reportedly began on a trial basis on the Sealdah Rajdhani.
A senior railway official told the Financial Express,“This will be biodegradable plates that can be disposed of safely. While on one hand we go green, we are also ensuring that passengers get fresh plates every time. There is no added issue of cleaning and washing the plates or complaints over dirty plates.”
It seems that airlines in India have taken significant steps towards curbing the use of plastic. In a gradual manner, all airlines should follow suit and shift towards eco-friendly alternatives to rid India of its plastic menace.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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