Rampant modernisation and commercialisation have led to use of several pollutants that are hazardous for the environment. Plastic in particular is extremely damaging to the environment due to its biodegradable nature. Plastic breaks into smaller pieces and once toxic chemicals leech out of them, they are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Any exposure to such toxicity results in cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.
Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown or recycled. Items like plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles, six pack rings, plastic party cups and most food packaging falls under the single-use plastic category. They constitute 33 per cent of all plastic waste.
Being an environmentally-conscious Public Sector Enterprise and for underlining its commitment towards its Corporate Social Responsibility, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to make its airports plastic free by banning single-use plastic at 35 of its airports across the country. Various steps have been undertaken to eliminate the single-use plastic items at passenger terminals and city side. These steps include banning of items like straws, plastic cutleries, etc.
towards a better world
In ensuring the successful implementation of banning single-use plastic items, AAI has been carrying out internal audits of its airports along with stakeholders. The Quality Council of India (QCI) was engaged to assess and check the implementation of the ban at AAI airports handling one million passengers per annum.
ECO-FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVES AAI is also enhancing its waste management systems and is promoting the use of eco-friendly sustainable alternatives progressively like the use of biodegradable garbage bags and installation of Plastic Bottle Crushing Machines at its airports. AAI airports have also started various awareness campaigns for sensitising all stakeholders, especially passengers, towards the cause to drive engagement and cooperation.
AAI’S ENVIRONMENT POLICY
In its quest for making environmental conservation an ingrained organisational mission, AAI has framed an Environment Policy, which envisages its commitment for reduction of Green House Gases (GHG) and sustainable development by implementing cost-effective carbon mitigation action to preserve the environment and reduce adverse impact on the society, community and ecosystem. As a part of this policy, AAI is conscious and committed towards sensitising all employees and stakeholders to fulfill environmental obligation by reducing carbon footprint.
It is us who produce hundreds of millions of tons of plastic every year, most of which cannot be recycled. It is crucial that we understand the need to use no or less plastic, shift to environmentally sustainable products and services and come up with technology that recycles plastic more efficiently.