Officials at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) had to collect twice the amount of waste as compared to other days on Wednesday after tourists celebrating Holi at the park left behind a huge mass of plastic waste. SGNP officials collected between 50 and 55kg of plastic whereas the average plastic trash collection on regular days is 15 to 20kg.
“The plastic waste primarily comprised bottles, wrappers and bags. Most of the waste was collected from Krishnagiri Upvan and Chinchpada, where tourists visit the Teen Murti temple,” said RK Vasave, divisional forest officer.
On Wednesday, 6,800 people visited the park. According to park officials, not all vehicles are thoroughly checked for plastic items. “We can collect a deposit from people who walk into the park but we do not have enough guards to check visitors’ vehicles,” said TN Patil, range forest officer, SGNP.
The amount of plastic collected inside the park each day has reduced from 100kg per day to 20kg per day after SGNP officials enforced a fine for littering. Since December 2012, visitors have also had to pay Rs50 or Rs100, depending on the number of plastic items they carry to the park. According to Vasave, deposits of around 300 visitors were forfeited as they failed to bring back the plastic items. A total of Rs13,200 was collected on Wednesday.