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Srinagar:

The international airport of Srinagar has now been declared plastic free by the Airport Authority of India (AAI). The other airports include Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Goa, Lucknow, Trivandrum, Bhubaneswar, Kozhikode, Patna, Visakhapatnam, Coimbatore, Amritsar, Indore, Bangalore, Bagdogra, Nagpur, Chennai, Chandigarh and Varanasi. As per airport officials, the implementation of eco-friendly policies of AAI, the installation of plastic bottle crushing machines and dustbins at prominent places have resulted in the plastic-free status of the Srinagar Airport.

The Director of Srinagar airport Akash Deep Mathur told the reporters that they have started various awareness campaigns for sensitising all stakeholders towards the cause of eco-friendly environment. “At the terminal building, plastic plates and cutlery is being gradually replaced by more eco-friendly material,” says Akash Deep Mathur. “The single use of plastics often also referred to as disposable plastics, commonly used in packaging and include items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled will now onwards be discouraged at the airport,” Mathur added. “Moreover, the AAI operates 90 airports, plans to enhance its waste management systems and promote eco-friendly sustainable alternatives like the use of biodegradable garbage bags at these airports,” Mathur said.

According to the officials, the AAI has engaged the Quality Council of India (QCI) to assess and check the implementation of the ban on single-use plastic items at 34 airports including Srinagar to be completed by the end of January. The international airport terminal at Srinagar has a capacity of handling 950 passengers at the peak time, which could be increased to 2300 passengers. However, more passengers means more usage of plastic. With the terminal expansion, the passenger footfall has increased from 3 million to 5.2 million per annum. We hope these eco-friendly measures will be helpful,” Mathur said.

The AAI has formulated an environment policy to reduce greenhouse gases and carbon footprint. It is also looking at other environment-friendly measures like generating solar power, rainwater harvesting and garbage disposal. “Several airports outside the Valley are fully solar-run. The proposal to make Srinagar Airport solar-run is in a very nascent stage but we hope to achieve it by 2021 when the new terminal is also expected to be completed with a project cost of Rs 495 crore,” Mathur said. Meanwhile, the Srinagar airport is under direct operational control of the Indian air force (IAF) which controls its traffic and landing strips along with facilities of firefighting and crash activities.

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