The Forest Department of Tamil Nadu is in the process to implement a ban on plastic and plastic products in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) after reports of huge plastic waste being seen along the Ghat road leading to the reserved forest area.
The plastic ban, according to sources in the state forest department is to be implemented as wildlife including wild monkeys and protected Nilgiri Thar reportedly chewing plastic waste and plastic carry bags leftover by the tourists.
The Forest Department is planning a workshop for Divisional Forest Officers in Nilgiris to make the officers aware of as to how the plastic ban was working in The Nilgiris.
The department is also having discussions with the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Coimbatore corporation on the modus operandi to be used to ban plastic in the ATR area.
Senior officials with the ATR told IANS that strict monitoring is implemented at all the forest check posts in the reserve forest and that vehicular check-up was conducted to ensure that plastic was not carried into the reserve forest area.
A senior forest officer with the ATR told IANS: “We have commenced vehicular check-up at forest check posts to ensure that no vehicle carries plastic, and forest officials have installed plastic shredding machine to immediately shred the plastic materials seized.”
The forest department will also be deploying more forest guards to prevent the tourists from getting dangerously close to the wild animals including Nilgiris Thar which is a protected species as also wild monkeys.
Sources in the forest department told IANS that several tourists resort to feeding monkeys and also provide juice and other food items in plastic packs to the monkeys leading to some of them chewing and swallowing the plastic packs.
The Forest Department has also given directives to shops around the forest reserve not to sell any plastic covers or plastic packs and that the ban may be implemented after a high level meeting of senior officials.