SPEED VIEWS: The Central Railway”s Packaging Ban: Good or Unprofitable?

Posted on June 20, 2012

By Aarushi Dave:

On 22nd May, the Central Railway’s ban on products that are packed using non-biodegradable materials (mostly plastic) came into effect. As a result of this, the railway stations are free from plastic litter to a great extent. The idea behind this move will help reduce plastic waste on the railway station and will help in prevent the clogging of drains during the monsoon which leads to water logging on the tracks. And most commuters are also pleased to see this change.

However, there is a negative side; stall owners on stations are losing customers. People these days prefer products with plastic packaging, such as biscuit packs or chips. But, all that these shops now have are food stuff like peanuts, bhel, samosas or vadapavs. The sales of none of these are as lucrative as those of biscuits and chips. The everyday earnings of these stall owners have now shrunk by roughly four thousand to five thousand rupees. The profit margins of some stalls have gone down so low that owners are thinking of shutting down. But there is another question that arises, instead of putting an end to the source, why isn’t awareness being spread to stop littering? Or maybe owners could pack all what they have hygienically so that people would like to buy them.

Commuters however do not oppose this ban, though some of them who travel a long way do feel the absence of some of the eatables that are banned. They used to find it convenient to buy chips and other banned stuff to munch on their way home. Though I agree with the idea of this ban (who won’t want to see the stations free of plastic waste), I still feel that more attention should be paid on spreading awareness on keeping the stations litter free rather than banning the source itself.

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