In a much-appreciated move, the GVK-run Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai has decided to tackle the irresponsible use of plastic in its daily operations. As a result, the airport authorities have set the date of October 2, 2019, as a limit, after which the airport will be 100 per cent free of single-use plastic. This comes at a time when the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has also called for a nationwide campaign against single-use plastic.

What does this mean for the daily operations of the airport, you ask?
It is encouraging to note that 99 per cent of the F&B outlets in the airport have replaced the single-use plastic material with paper straws, paper plates, paper cups, wooden cutlery, wooden or acrylic stirrers, as well as containers in paper and silver foil. Similarly, retail outlets have replaced the plastic packaging of their products, across all segments like fashion and beauty, with butter paper, cartons, cloth bags, paper boxes. Also, all outlets have banned plastic bags and replaced them with paper bags.

While the crusade against single-use plastic continues, there have been many initiatives to reduce the plastic waste at the airport. For instance, solid waste is now collected in compostable bags. Similarly, the airport authorities have installed PET bottle crushing and recycling machines at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

It is indeed a praiseworthy initiative from Mumbai’s airport staff to encourage sustainable practices in travel. This initiative has brought together airlines, suppliers, F&B outlets, offices, staff and handlers, who are now emphasising the importance of sustainable and responsible travel.

A spokesperson at the Mumbai International Airport added, “At GVK MIAL, we take pride in our values of integrity. Customer focus and passion for excellence, all this while keeping sustainability as our central goal. As a global airport, over the years, we have implemented various pathbreaking green initiatives be it with regards to carbon neutrality, utilisation of solar energy, recycling waste and generating organic compost, releasing a sustainability report as per the GRI standards, among many such initiatives. Having already initiated the ban in 2018, the main aim was to provide passengers with alternatives that do not affect their overall experience, while at the same time eliminate the use of single use plastic across all airport operations along with our stakeholders. Today, we are proud of having achieved our goal right in time with the Prime Minister’s initiative for the entire nation and we shall continue our endeavour in providing sustainable and world-class service to our patrons.”