Rigorous ban on plastic at forests and sanctuaries proposed by state government

22 Aug 2018

Hefty fine has been proposed for use of plastic bags and other plastic products carried at forests and other nature parks under the state forest department. The decision was adopted with an eye to keep the forests free from pollution, said Binay Krishna Burman, minister of the department today.
The prohibitory order would be implemented at Gorumara, Jaldapara, Singalila, Sinchal, Neora Valley, Mahananda sanctuary, Buxa tiger reserve and other forests and parks under the state forest department.
“Sundarban has already been declared as biosphere reserve. Thus use of plastic bags and other articles made of plastic has been banned in Sundarban. We want implementation of similar proscription at other forests, parks, sanctuaries and reserves also. However, not only the tourists but also the officials and employees of the department would have to abide by the new order,” Burman said.
The minister conceded that high use of plastic bags by tourists was a serious concern. “But the more alarming fact is that the forest employees, officials and other concerned staff randomly use toxic-plastic during tiger census. Our target is to keep forests and sanctuaries completely free of plastic elements. It has been decided that members of forest and environment protection committee members, safari drivers, tour guides, beat officers and rangers would undergo a training to know how to implement the ban without hurting the tourism industry,” he added.
Notably, most of the forests in Terai and Dooars regions are closed from June 15 to September 14 as the period is regarded as the breeding season for animals. However, an exception for the first time has been made by keeping a few other forests open for tourists even during the given period.
“We are keeping vigil on those forests also. Tourists would be informed of the anti-plastic regulations before they enter the forests. Even tickets issued to the tourists would not contain any plastic strip etc,” minister said.
Dibyendu Deb, secretary of Lataguri resort owners’ welfare association has welcomed the new anti-plastic regulation made by the forest department. “We always appeal to the tourists to abstain from using plastics articles. New regulation would be conveyed to tourists after we receive it officially from the department,” Deb said. (EOIC)