Kerala

Strict ban on plastics in Kerala’s protected areas

Taking a serious view of the rampant pollution in forests, the Forest Department of Kerala has decided to impose a strict ban on the influx of plastic disposables in protected areas in the State with immediate effect.

Green protocol will be strictly implemented in all protected areas, including 17 wildlife sanctuaries, five national parks and a community reserve, which constituted over one-fifth of the total forest area in Kerala.

Fine

An order issued by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden Surendrakumar on Tuesday fixed a spot fine of ₹2,000 on those dumping plastics, chemicals, explosives or any other substances that could endanger wildlife. Besides, the offenders will be booked and prosecuted under provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 if they refused to pay the fine.

Project Green Grass

Mr. Surendrakumar told The Hindu that the move was an extension of the Project Green Grass implemented by the government to clean forests. The department had mapped 125 points in forest areas where waste materials were being dumped in large quantities. Around 1,000 tonnes of waste materials were found to be dumped along the Neriyamangalam-Adimali route alone.

“While such plastics and other substances were often removed, they continued to accumulate unbridled. These items were found to have caused large-scale pollution which affected the well-being of wildlife,” he said.

Clean-up drive

The senior officer added that the collected fines would be transferred to the respective forest development agencies to be used for cleaning up the protected areas. Green protocol committees would be formed in each protected area to minimise and manage wastes.

The order was necessitated partially owing to the fact that littering in reserve forests was not defined as an offence in the Kerala Forest Act. The department had successfully imposed a total ban on plastics in Sabarimala and Agasthyarkoodam.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2021 9:19:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/strict-ban-on-plastics-in-keralas-protected-areas/article26786368.ece

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