Treated and bottled water in reusable virgin plastic bottles was launched by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden R. Sundararaju and the first bottle was received by the Field Director of Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) H. Basavaraju on Wednesday.
Range Officer of Top Slip, Ulandy Range, S. Thangaraj Panneerselvam said that visitors brought packaged drinking water in plastic bottles and some even bought them at the canteen run by the Forest Department at Top Slip.
After consuming the water, the visitors tended to throw it on the road sides leaving huge heaps of plastic bottles. This was harmful to wildlife.
Considering the price of the packaged drinking water bottles, the ATR officials hit upon the idea of introducing reusable virgin plastic bottles containing treated water sourced from the natural water resources in the sanctuary.
These packaged and sealed PET water bottles would be sold at Rs 30 each to the tourists. The tourists, after consuming the water and while returning from the sanctuary, could hand over the bottle and get a refund of Rs 5. If the tourist failed to return the bottle, the Rs 25 taken as deposit per bottle would have to be forfeited.
ATR authorities have a reverse osmosis plant and the water resources to produce more than 100 bottles a day which is actually double the quantity of water bottles being sold now.
Treating and packaging of water in the bottles would be done by the tribal people. The income generated out of this would be used for eco-development committee programmes to improve the living conditions of these people.