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| Last Updated:: 30/08/2018

Rajasthan Bans Plastic in Forests, Sanctuaries











Tourists found carrying plastic bottles, wafer packets, or other similar disposable items inside any of the wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan, will invite penal action. The state forest department has imposed a ban and a penalty on entry/use of plastic consumables and disposable items in all forest areas, including tiger and wildlife conservation areas. 



The ban, which has come into force from August 27, restricts entry/use of plastic water bottles, bags, packaging and disposable items in forest areas, failing which, offenders will be penalised. Principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), GV Reddy on Monday, issued the official orders to this effect. Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, 1972, first time and repeat offenders will be slapped with a penalty of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 respectively, whereas a criminal case will be lodged followed by legal action, on those flouting the rules for the second time, as per a forest department notification. 



A forest official said that the initiative has been introduced, as the changing environment is causing negative effect on the wildlife. To mitigate the negative impact on the environment due to plastic, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), proposed to organise various programmes on the theme, ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ this year. The state has positively joined hands with the Centre’s initiative, to discourage plastic use in all the tiger and wildlife conservation areas. While the plastic ban has been already successfully imposed in a few forest areas in the state, it will be an uphill task in tiger reserves and sanctuaries. 



Rahul Bhatnagar, chief conservator of forests, Udaipur said, “We have successfully imposed plastic ban in Sajjangarh Biological Park for past two years. The visitors carrying plastic water bottles are pasted with a sticker, besides they have to deposit Rs 10. The money is refunded on return. Moreover, no eatables in plastic bags are allowed inside the park. A free cloth bag is provided to the visitors. Moreover, we also have the locker facility, where we ask them to keep the plastic items.” 



However, as many forest areas, including Sariska Tiger Reserve, Ranthambore National Park and Jhalana Forest Reserve, have temples inside them, it would remain a challenge for officials to comply with the orders. 



“As a ritual, devotees in large numbers carry fruits, bread and other items in plastic bags to feed the animals. Most of them are villagers and are uneducated. They throw plastic bags inside the forest area. It would be a tough task to enforce the orders,” said an official, on condition of anonymity, at Jhalana.