Mumbai: Youth push for solar energy to drive BEST buses
MUMBAI: A campaign that promotes solar energy for electric charging stations of BEST buses, #SolarwalaBEST, gained momentum on Monday with students creating awareness in south Mumbai and a petition being signed by nearly 1,400 people on social media.
NGO Waatavaran, which is behind the movement, said it aims for at least 5% of daily charging for BEST electric buses to be done by solar energy and not conventional coal-based energy. BEST has a fleet of 21 electric buses and 25 more e-buses will be inducted soon. It has charging points at Backbay, Worli and Dharavi depots.
“We can’t demand for 100% solar energy, but 5% to10% in two years is a tangible target,” said Bhagwan Kesbhat of Waatavaran. “BEST launched its electric buses last September to curb air pollution. While this has reduced tailpipe emissions, charging grids continue to remain coal-based. Until the electricity used to power the fleet is clean and renewable, the city’s public transport will be a source of pollution,” he said.
The NGO plans to submit a signed public petition to civic chief Praveen Pardeshi to push for solar at BEST charging stations.
“We will also meet state environment minister Aaditya Thackeray in this connection,” he said.
Kesbhat said that the campaign will have more citizen engagement on social media in coming days.