Indian Railways to be Largest Green Railways in the world Zero Carbon Emission
Indian Railways (IR) working in mission mode to become the World’s Largest Green Railways and achieve “Zero Carbon Emission” before 2030.
Indian Railways is one of the world’s largest rail networks, spread over 68,400 route Km. It is the the largest passenger carrying system in the world that carries nearly 23 million passengers every day. Indian Railways is also the 4th largest freight transporter in the world moving 1,160 million tonnes of freight annually.
Indian Railways & Environment Sustainability
In general, Railways are about 12 times more efficient in freight traffic and 3 times more efficient in passenger traffic as compared to road transport.
Indian Railways is guided by a holistic vision to promote Green environment and clean energy while making
the Indian Railways a global leader in sustainable mass transport solutions.
Railway’s mission to promote environment sustainability includes promoting energy conservation measures, maximising the use of alternate forms of clean energy, conserving water & other natural resources and achieving Zero waste discharge from the major Railway units.
Indian Railways also aims to promote green built-up spaces, expand tree-cover and build in house capacity to set up an effective Environment Management System.
Initiatives towards building Largest Green Railways
Railway Electrification which is environment friendly and reduces pollution, has increased nearly ten times since 2014. Further, Railways has planned to electrify balance Broad Gauge (BG) routes by December, 2023 to achieve 100% electrification of BG routes.
Innovative solutions like Head-On-Generation systems, Bio-Toilets and LED lights recreate the train itself into a travel mode that’s kinder to the environment while maintaining comparable passenger comfort.
Indian Railway’s 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.
Green Certifications and implementation of Environment Management System:
In July 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Indian Railway and Confederation of Indian Industry for facilitation of Green initiatives on Indian Railways. Consequently, 39 Workshops, 7 Production Units, 8 Loco Sheds and one Stores depot have been ‘GreenCo’ certified. These include 2 Platinum, 15 Gold and 18 Silver ratings.
Green certification mainly covers assessment of parameters having direct bearing on the environment, such as, energy conservation measures, use of renewable energy, Green House Gas emission reduction, water conservation, waste management, material conservation, recycling etc.
19 Railway Stations have also achieved Green Certification including 3 Platinum, 6 Gold and 6 Silver ratings. 27 more Railway Buildings, Offices, Campuses and other establishments are also Green certified including 15 Platinum, 9 Gold and 2 Silver ratings.
In addition, over 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 for ISO : 14001 certification.
Indian Railways has incorporated Climate Change features in its own risk assessments and disaster management protocols. Top management in IR’s many public sectors have been communicating with stakeholders for a shared understanding, needed for long-term health and sustainability of the organisations they lead.
The Environment Sustainability Report published by IR and subsidiary units each year sets up a framework document defining strategies and focus points in the context of climate change, the issues at stake, and steps for dealing with them.
It helps railways to support government commitments such as the Paris agreement on climate change, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and National Disaster Management Plans.
Wide ranging experiences of engineers, operators and planners in different zones & construction units of the Indian Railways constantly face different challenges. Some sophisticated approaches by international asset managers, railway operators, rolling stock engineers, scenario planners and others are studied through consultancy reports.
Appropriate interpretation matching the IR’s own realities and ground situation suitably adapts the efforts of departmental managers in anticipating and facing up to those challenges.