The Amrabad Tiger Reserve in Telangana, the second largest protected area for wildlife in the country, will soon go plastic-free with the government setting a deadline to achieve this status by the end of this July. The decision was communicated to officials of the forest department on Wednesday by Chief Secretary A Santhi Kumari, who directed them to prepare an action plan to achieve this status within two months.

Santhi Kumari, chairing a review of forest and wildlife issues at the Secretariat, also instructed the officials to expedite the process of relocating people living in four habitations from inside the tiger reserve. The meeting was attended among others by senior forest, environment, endowments department and the Pollution Control Board. As part of the efforts to stop use of plastics and plastic

materials in the reserve, and their picking up, the Chief Secretary called for additional check-posts inside the reserve on the road passing through it.

In around four years after the tiger reserve authorities started collecting plastic wastes thrown by pilgrims travelling to and from the temple town of Srisailam and through the highway in the reserve, have collected around 17 tonnes of such waste along the road, and sent it for recycling. “The use of eco-friendly products like paper, cloth and jute bags should be encouraged, along with leaf plates. Launch a massive awareness campaign through print and electronic media as well as by erecting signboards and sensitising vendors along the highway about the ban on plastics in the tiger reserve,” Santhi Kumari said.

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