CHITWAN, Jan 12: As the Chitwan National Park (CNP) has declared the park area as plastics-free zone from January 1, park officials have taken various measures to make the initiative effective.
Officials said that for the time being they have banned plastic bags only while visitors are allowed to take plastic water bottles inside but the bottles need to be registered at the park gates. Officials also requested visitors to bring cloth bags.
“For now, we have banned plastic bags, and other plastic containers must be registered at the entry points of the park,” said Deputy Conservation Officer and Information Officer of CNP Gopal Bahadur Ghimire. “The visitors must bring back the plastic containers while exiting the park.”
“We have seen the number of visitors to the park increasing markedly in recent years but with them plastic waste also increased,” he said.
Chief Conservation Officer of CNP, Bed Kumar Dhakal claimed that the national park has been running a campaign for the last two years to reduce the use of plastic inside the park. He added that Nepal Army personnel and other workers living inside the national park have also been barred from taking plastic bags inside. There are 50 security posts in the national park. Army personnel stationed inside the park have been instructed to use cloth bags instead.
Dhakal added that dustbins have also been installed in various parts of the national park in order to reduce the plastic waste.
“We had also done cleanup work inside the park before enforcing the plastics ban,” Information Officer Ghimire told Republica.
“Foreign tourists would feel bad to see plastic bags inside the park. Also, wild animals and birds tend to swallow food wrappers and fall ill,” he said, adding that the campaign will benefit both the visitors and the wildlife.
There are 10 entry points to the park out of which, Sauraha, Kasara, Bhimle and Amaltar are the major entry points. In the first five months of the current fiscal year, 71,720 people visited the park, according to CNP records.