From November 11, people caught throwing plastic items inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) at Borivli will be fined.
Park authorities will start a ‘Plastic Litter Free’ campaign and will fine those found throwing plastic items such as bottles, wrappers, water pouches, bags and tobacco pouches. The fine amount for first-time offenders would range from Rs 100 to 500, depending on the quantity of plastic litter. For instance, the fine for throwing a plastic bottle will be Rs 100 while plastic litter flung out from a car occupied by a family will have to shell out more.
“For the last four months, we have been sensitising visitors on keeping the national park free of plastic and also been collecting plastic items strewn around,” said Sunil Limaye, director, SGNP. “Now that we have given them enough time, we decided to start slapping a fine on those violating the rules.”
A plastic vigilance squad comprising 12 staff members from the national park will move around on bicycles in the tourism area and will be in touch with forest guards who will issue the fine receipts.
Limaye added that second time offenders would be charged double the fine amount meant for first time offenders. “We will be able to identify second time offenders based on the details we have of those who offended the first time. And a third time offender will be asked to leave the park premises,” said Limaye.
According to park officials, during weekdays, the quantity of plastic litter collected is around 150 kg. On Saturday and Sunday, the quantity collected even reaches 400 kg per day.
The campaign will see citizens’ participating to ensure the park is plastic-free. Park authorities have decided to give jute bags to visitors, who hire bicycles to move around the area, to collect plastic litter. “We charge Rs 50 for a two­-hour bicycle ride. We have decided to exempt Rs 5 for those bicycle riders who will return with a bag full of plastic waste,” said Limaye.