Palampur, October 15
Residents of the upper areas of Palampur such as Bundla, Kandi, Thala and Surad areas have lodged a protest over littering of plastic junk, including wrappers, mineral water and liquor bottles, on forestland by tourists.
The protesting residents say plastic junk littered in forests in the upper areas of Palampur and near the Jakhni Mata Mandir can destroy the ecology of the hill state, and result in the death of wild animals. The authorities concerned should act now, they add.
Heaps of plastic covers, mineral water bottles, chips packets and foils have become a common sight in these villages, despite a ban on the sale and use of plastic imposed by the state. Most of the forest land and picnic spots are littered with plastic items.
The government agencies responsible for managing the affairs have become a mute spectator, allowing dumping of plastic in local rivulets. The green forests in Palampur have virtually turned into a dumping ground.
Agitated residents urged the state to charge green tax from the tourists and locals visiting the areas and use the money to keep the environment clean.
Thousands of tourists visit Palampur and its adjoining areas, but there is no provision for scientific treatment of garbage, despite the NGT orders issued in 2018.
Environmentalists attribute the dumping of plastic to lethargic monitoring by officials involved in the conservation of the area. “Sustaining the biodiversity is not possible without the cooperation of tourists, who, by and large, lack civic sense,” says Palampur SDM Amit Guleria. — OC
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