HYDERABAD: With increased human activity in forests, tiger reserves and national parks, the Forest Department has formed special teams for clearing plastic waste and decided to transform these places into ‘plastic free zones’. The plastic recycling mechanism, which was successfully adopted in the Amrabad Tiger Reserve, will be extended to other places.
According to forest officials, the human activity in forest areas has indirectly contributed to the accumulation of plastic waste which has proved not only harmful to wildlife, but also to the ecosystem. Besides, the plastic wastage is cause of wildfires in the forests. To address this, the Forest Department has already achieved good results in Amrabad Tiger Reserve on the Srisailam Highway. In this endeavour, the special teams, which were also formed recently by department, conducted special drive at Kanwal Tiger Reserve and cleared some 1,000 kg of plastic from the forest.
RM Dobriyal, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force (HoFF), instructed the officials to extend the plastic recycling mechanism to three of the national parks — KBR, Mrugavani and Mahavir Harina Vanasthali — besides the two Tiger reserves. The Pakhal, Kinnerasani, Pocharam and Eturunagaram wildlife sanctuaries and 109 urban parks will be covered under the initiative of ‘Plastic Free Zones’.
To ensure the mechanism is in place, the Forest Department, besides constituting special teams, has also established recycling points for segregation of wet waste from dry waste and streamlined the logistics of transportation till processing units. This initiative is also generating employment to those who depend on forests for survival. As part of encouraging responsible eco-tourism, the Forest Department has urged those who pass through forests to avoid throwing plastic waste and cigarette buds.