As a part of making India plastic-free, about 7000 railway stations in the country are bringing back biodegradable and environment-friendly earthen cups or kulhads for serving tea.
Piyush Goyal, Union Railway Minister said that 400 railway stations are already serving tea in kulhads and efforts will be taken to bring the same policy in the rest of the stations as well. "Kulhads will not only help reduce the use of toxic plastic and save the environment, but they will also give employment and income to hundreds of thousands of potters," he said.
Kulhad is a humble relic from the Indian past which was commonly used by the people to drink both hot and cold drinks. Gradually the availability of earthen cups became rare as the cheaply available plastic cups stood in the forefront of markets. Though the majority of the people are of the opinion, that tea tastes better in a kulhad, the trending use-and-throw culture led to the continuous reign of plastic cups.
Kulhads are made by firing in a kiln is sterile and hygienic as it is almost untouched and not reused, which makes it highly favourable in this pandemic season.
Efforts were made sixteen years ago by the former Minister of Railways Lalu Prasad Yadav to bring back kulhads but due to inefficient execution of the initiative, it didn't bore any fruitful results. Serving of drinks in kulhads then became a sight restricted to some rural villages.
Considering India's rich tradition of pottery, this initiative is also intended at increasing the employment of potters so that the bulk demand of kulhad production is met with ease. This nature friendly initiative introduced to banish plastic cups in the country is looked at with much expectation by the environmentalists.