Gopidi said the forest was a plastic-free zone but it was impossible to implement the ban as it would involve checking every vehicle at Mannanur, the entry point to the forest from the Telangana side. DC file image
Hyderabad: Regular cleaning operations by forest department personnel in Nallamala forest brought them face to face with a sickening sight-large amounts of plastic and other waste dumped all over by those passing by the forest.
Last month the department staff collected 46 bales (bound bundles) of PET bottles, 25 of multi-layered plastics (MLP), 14 of cardboards and seven bales of disposable glasses. The numbers were even higher in December. Around 129 bales of PET bottles, 34 of MLPs, 37 of cardboards and 14 bales of glasses were collected. From June to October, a total of 2,200 kg of waste was collected in the forest.
Forest divisional officer (Amrabad division) Rohith Gopidi said it was unfortunate that so much litter was being dumped in the forest.
"People who are littering are not going for a safari, but to Srisailam temple. The dumped waste also includes food waste and paper plates, as a lot of people eat inside the forest," he said.
Gopidi said the forest was a plastic-free zone but it was impossible to implement the ban as it would involve checking every vehicle at Mannanur, the entry point to the forest from the Telangana side. He said the department was thinking of collaborating with the packaging industry to replace plastic with jute and cloth bags, which would also generate employment for the locals. He also suggested that just as the Tirupati temple had gone plastic-free, Srisailam temple could do the same.
Chief conservator of forests and field director of Project Tiger, B Srinivas said that in their bid to control the problem at the source itself, the department will write to the district administration on the possibility of banning sale of plastic at Mannanur.
On Mahashivaratri, which is on the intervening night between February 28 and March 1 this year, the littering is expected to increase manifold as thousands of devotees walk or take their vehicles through the forest, and they are allowed to do so throughout the night.