Moving forward from the cleaning initiatives, the Indian Railways is planning to conduct checking on cleanliness of tracks on busy routes using an external independent organisation and rank its 16 zones based on their cleanliness. Similar survey of 407 stations, carried out by the Quality Council of India was recently released by the Railways.
Railway tracks at many routes are full of leftover food, plastic bottles and paper boxes. The discharge of human waste from trains is also damaging the tracks. Several railway divisions have made use of service mechanised system for cleaning of tracks between stations. Bio toilets were also introduced in some trains.
The Indian Railways is the third lar gest rail network in the world, covering 66,000km and having more than 8,000 stations. Post the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the railways launched ‘Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. The ‘Swachh Rail’ portal showcases cleanliness rankings of various stations and the methodology adopted for rankings. This web portal will also be used to seek passenger feedback on cleanliness. This will be used to improve the cleanliness standard and a healthy competition among divisions to keep their tracks clean.
In place of steel sleepers on steel bridges, environment friendly composite sleepers made of recycled plastic waste are being used over all girder bridges to collect rainwater, which is mainly used for maintenance of wagons/coaches and cleaning of stations. About 2,428 rainwater harvesting systems have been installed so far.
By 2019, all trains will have bio toilets. Indian Railways and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have come together to produce eco-friendly bio toilets where human waste is collected in tanks below the toilets and decomposed by a consortium of bacteria. Until recently, the railway network had almost 49,000 bio-toilets in over 900 operational trains across India.