Tourists return to MTR along with littering menace despite fines

Published on : Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The littering menace has once again returned to the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) following an increase in the number of tourists passing through.


According to local forest department staff, resorts and guest houses, as well as visitors passing through the reserve are dumping mounds of liquor bottles along the road side within the reserve. “The bottles pose a huge risk to wildlife, including elephants, which can sustain injuries if the animals step on the glass bottles,” explained an MTR staff. The increase in the amount of litter has coincided with the district opening up for tourism once again, officials said.


When contacted, MTR Deputy Director (Buffer Zone), L.C.S. Srikanth, said that in the last one month, ₹ 2 lakh in fines have been collected from tourists for a variety of offences, including trespassing into protected forests, disturbing wildlife, illegally exiting their vehicles while inside the reserve and also for littering.


MTR has prominent signs throughout the reserve warning tourists about how littering can have an impact on local wildlife. However, catching offenders who break the rules remains a challenge, officials said, as it is almost impossible to find people who litter unless they break the rules in front of forest department staff on patrol duty.


The management of the reserve has also stepped up clean-up operations of the reserve, with eco-sanitary watchers being employed to pick up trash discarded by tourists on a more regular basis recently.


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