BENGALURU: The monthly clean-up drive at Kalkere Reserve Forest, which is part of Bannerghatta Forest, revealed the impact of waste being dumped on forest land. Apart from the 11 trucks that were required to take away the garbage that was cleared, plastic remains were also found in animal excreta in this area.
Sixty volunteers from different NGOs from the city took part in this massive drive to clear out the garbage along the compound wall of forest. This compound is the part of Bannerghatta National Park, which is the closest point to the urban habitat.
Range forest officer (RFO), Ganesh V, who headed the clean-up drive, says, "When we used to go for inspection, we have seen a lot of garbage, and there have also been incidents of fire due to this." The 1.5 km stretch of the compound wall was cleaned as part of this exercise, and the RFO says that another 2km needs to be cleaned. "Another two or three weeks of cleaning is required to bring the garbage problem down to 75%, " Ganesh adds.
Animals eat plastic, leads to death
What has been the most alarming part of this drive is that the animals are the ones who are most affected by the dumping. It is appalling to note that the animals are not only grazing along the compound wall, but are also getting harmed to the extent that they're consuming this plastic waste.
Ganesh says that people should be aware of the harm they are causing to their surroundings. "When animals swallow plastic, it often also leads to their death. This might have been happening earlier too, but this problem needs to be addressed immediately." The RFO is also taking up initiatives to spread awareness about the same in the area.
Krishna, who has founded KR Puram Constituency Association Welfare Federation, was contacted to help with the initiative, "I got a request from the RFO to volunteer to clean up forest land in and around Bannerghatta National Park. After the clean up, we found out that citizens who live along the boundary line are the ones who have been dumping their waste in the area. Animals come and eat this and the plastic enters their system. We want to create awareness among the public."
The garbage comes from: a government school, a liquor shop, a textile industry and some residential houses. NKS Narendra Kumar, a volunteer from Jayanagar who helped with the drive, says, "The area was filled with plastic covers. Among the many people who dump their waste here, two houses also put their sewage pipelines into the forest. There was a lot of waste next to the government school too. We noticed a lot of waste in the form of leftovers from a meal programme at the school too."