Indian Railways is moving towards becoming the world’s largest green railway network by achieving “net-zero carbon emission” by 2030.
The Indian Railways had said in a statement on the occasion of World Environment Day 2021, that it is moving towards a complete green restart.
This pledge comes at a crucial time when the world is rigged with the global problem of environmental degradation and climate change, it important now, more than ever to aggressively work towards Sustainable Development.
How will Indian Railways achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2030?
The Indian Railways has set an ambitious goal of achieving “net-zero carbon emission” by 2030. To achieve the same, it has taken some of the following steps:
1. Electrification of Routes
The Indian Railways is planning massive electrification of its routes, as it is environment friendly and reduces pollution that has increased nearly ten times since 2014. This also has large economic benefits, hence, the Railways plans to electrify balance Broad Gauge (BG) routes by December 2023 to achieve 100% electrification of BG routes.
2. Bio-Toilets/ LED Lights
The railways also plans to have Head-On-Generation systems, Bio-Toilets and LED lights to recreate the train itself into an environment-friendly travel mode while maintaining passenger comfort.
3. Low carbon green transportation network
The Railways dedicated Freight Corridors are being developed as a low carbon green transportation network with a long-term low carbon roadmap, which will enable it to adopt more energy-efficient and carbon-friendly technologies, processes and practices.
The Railways is implementing two Dedicated Freight Corridor projects –
1. Eastern Corridor (EDFC): Ludhiana to Dankuni (1,875 km)
2. Western Corridor (WDFC): Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (1,506 km).
Besides this, the Sonnagar-Dankuni (538 km) portion of EDFC has also been planned for execution on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
• The Indian Railways and the Confederation of Indian Industry signed an MoU in July 2016 for the facilitation of Green initiatives on the railways network. Following this, 39 Workshops, 7 Production Units, 8 Loco Sheds and one Stores depot were ‘GreenCo’ certified.
• The Green certifications are allotted keeping in mind the sustainable development goals such as the use of renewable energy, energy conservation measures, water conservation, Green House Gas emission reduction, waste management, recycling and material conservation.
• Around 19 Railway Stations achieved Green Certification with 3 Platinum, 6 Gold and 6 Silver ratings and 27 more Railway Buildings, Offices, Campuses and other establishments achieved Green certification with 15 Platinum, 9 Gold and 2 Silver ratings.
• Besides this, 600 Railway Stations have been certified for implementation of the Environment Management System to ISO: 14001 in the last two years. A total of 718 stations have been identified so far for the certification.
5. Solar-powered stations
The Indian Railways has also built solar-powered stations to contribute towards environmental protection.
6. Incorporating Climate Change features in own risk assessments
The Indian Railways has also incorporated Climate Change features in its own risk assessments and disaster management protocols. The Railway’s top management has been communicating with stakeholders for a shared understanding and the need for the long-term health and sustainability of the organisations they lead.
Environment Sustainability Report
The Indian Railways and its subsidiary units publish an Environment Sustainability Report every year to set up a framework document to define strategies and focus points in the context of climate change, the latest issues and steps for dealing with them. This helps the railways in helping support government commitments such as the Paris agreement on climate change, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and National Disaster Management Plans.
The Indian Railways is guided by a holistic vision of being an environmental-friendly, efficient, cost-effective, punctual and modern carrier of passengers as well as freight to serve the growing needs of New India.
The railways network and reach have enabled movement of essential items such as food grains and even medical oxygen at the height of the pandemic while being more environmentally friendly as compared to Road transport.
Between April 2021 and May 2021, the Indian Railways moved about 73 Lakh tonnes of food grains and has run 241 loaded Oxygen express trains, moving 922 loaded tankers, thereby transporting 15,046 tonnes of oxygen to various part of the country.