Tourists oppose levy of fee to prevent littering of plastic items

A member of women SHG explains to tourists about new rules on plastic waste management at the Government Botanical Garden in Udhagamandalam.

A member of women SHG explains to tourists about new rules on plastic waste management at the Government Botanical Garden in Udhagamandalam.   | Photo Credit: Rohan Premkumar

Uncooperative tourists put paid to district administration's efforts to prevent plastic from being brought to Botanical Garden and Ooty Lake

Uncooperative tourists visiting the Government Botanical Garden and the Ooty Lake and Boat House, refusing to pay a small fee of Rs. 10 to prevent plastic litter from cluttering up the two main tourist spots in Udhagamandalam, are causing tremendous difficulties for the women self-help groups, Horticultural Department and Tourism Department staff.

The garden and the boat house were selected by the Nilgiris District Collector, Innocent Divya, as places where a pilot project could be trialled, where a system to prevent plastic products being brought into the two areas was introduced. Tourists bringing plastic products would have to pay ₹10 at the entrance for each individual piece. A sticker is pasted on the plastic items and the money deposited by the tourists is returned when they exit and show that the plastic bottles and items they brought were not disposed of on the lawns of the gardens or in the lake.

With the Ayudha Pooja holidays bringing in huge number of tourists leading to the first real test of the system since its inception, the staff at the two locations, especially the Government Botanical Garden, are facing immense difficulties in trying to convince tourists to part with the small fee charged for eco-maintenance.

Workers at the garden said that they were being subjected to abuse and are being humiliated by uncooperative tourists, some of whom are in an inebriated condition when they enter the garden.

“While local tourists from Tamil Nadu are also uncooperative, visitors from other States are the worst, and abuse us when we explain the rules to them,” said a member of a women’s self-help group.

The members collecting the money have no authority to take action against the tourists either, and cannot even ask the tourists unwilling to pay the fee to leave the garden or the boat house. Officials, speaking to The Hindu, said that despite the fact that ID cards and uniforms have been issued, tourists were unwilling to cooperate with the staff.

An official from the Ooty Lake and Boat House also admitted that arguments between tourists and staff were common.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 10:01:03 AM |

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