KARWAR/GADAG: Travellers, be prepared to part with your packet of chips or plastic water bottles when visiting wildlife destinations or natural wonders such as the magnificent Yana caves and misty Vibhooti waterfalls.
The Honnavar division of the forest department has sent a proposal to the Deputy Commissioner S S Nakul to announce the caves and waterfalls in Yana as plastic-free zones. While ‘plastic-free’ is just a plan here, Gadag’s Binkadakatti Zoo banned leaving plastic inside its premises a week ago.
At the entrance, zoo’s employees put a sticker on every plastic article that a visitor wishes to take inside. While returning, they have to present the bottles once more and their deposit is returned. Visitors are also not allowed to take any kind of junk food.
The Honnavar forest department’s proposal for the caves and waterfall is along the same lines. Yana caves and Vibhooti waterfalls in Uttara Kannada are located in the thick forests of Western Ghats that is rich in biodiversity. Therefore the forest department is proposing to get these two destinations declared plastic-free zones, said Vasant Reddy, deputy conservator of forests, Honnavar division.
Yana caves and Vibhooti waterfalls are situated in an ecologically sensitive zone. Yana, a small village near Kumta, is famous for its two massive rock structures made of black limestone. These rock formations, which have been standing for thousands of years, are surrounded by thick forests of Western Ghats. Vibhooti waterfalls is 8km from here, and attracts visitors by hundreds for its many tiered falls.
Vasant Reddy, deputy conservator of forests of Honnavar division, said, “We have already created awareness among villagers, forest department employees and nearby shopkeepers about this plastic-free drive. Shopkeepers have displayed signboards, our staff are sent out round-the-clock to keep a check and women working as cleaning staff with us are being trained as well.”
In Gadag’s zoo, visitors have welcomed this eco-friendly move, said a zoo staffer. “It took a few days for visitors to get used to this but now they have stopped bringing junk food. They are happy to have the premises cleaner and plastic free,” he said. Ateek Dambal, a visitor, said, “The zoo premises is clean now. When we heard that this is now a plastic-free zone, we stopped bringing food packets. Everyone should cooperate by disposing waste in dust bins”.