Nilgiris administration begins setting up kiosks to collect empty liquor bottles

The first one has been opened at Thalakundah near Udhagamandalam

Published - April 19, 2022 05:40 pm IST - UDHAGAMANDALAM

The liquor bottle collection kiosk at  Thalakundah near Udhagamandalam.

The liquor bottle collection kiosk at Thalakundah near Udhagamandalam. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

To address the issue of illegal dumping of empty liquor bottles in forests and streams in the Nilgiris, the district administration has begun setting up kiosks to collect them and plastic waste across the district.

The Madras High Court has warned that it will order closure of liquor outlets if TASMAC did not make arrangements to collect the empty liquor bottles in hill stations.

Speaking to The Hindu, Nilgiris Collector S.P. Amrith said the first kiosk was recently inaugurated at Thalakundah near Udhagamandalam. He said 15 such kiosks would be set up in and around Udhagamandalam with the assistance of a Karnataka-based NGO.

“We are concerned about the illegal dumping of liquor bottles by residents in streams and near forests. Right now, the local bodies have been tasked with collecting the waste from these areas and handing them over at the kiosks,” he said.

However, the district administration wants people themselves to hand over the waste at the kiosks, and is looking at ways to incentivize them to do so.

P.J. Vasanthan, trustee of Clean Coonoor, an NGO working on waste management, said discarded liquor bottles posed a significant threat to the wildlife. “The problem is that tourists and local residents purchase the liquor and head to secluded spots where they consume alcohol and dispose the bottles of at the same place. Some better policing by both the Police and Forest Departments could help to curb this practice,” he said.

The kiosks are one of the two proposed initiatives to minimise and ultimately eliminate the dumping of liquor bottles in the open. The Collector said a proposal for a liquor bottle buy-back scheme was sent to the TASMAC administration. “We have proposed to TASMAC that it buy back the bottles at a small price,” Mr. Amrith said, adding that incentivizing the return of bottles could push people away from disposing them of in the open.

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