Set in the Nallamala Ranges, Srisailam Tiger Reserve is rich with biodiversity and a complex ecosystem. The ranges are spread over a vast area and are also well known for religious tourism. This region has been facing various issues due to the plastic waste generated by the pilgrims as well as tourists.
Major reason behind this is that all of them have to ride through the core area of Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) which is also the most sensitive area considering its habitat.
Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve Team manages and conserves the multi-dimensional ecosystem of the Nallamala using technology and scientific methods. As a result, a considerable catchment area of River Krishna is still intact and sustainable.
However, in recent times, it has been observed that the efforts on conservation are challenged by the irresponsible behavior of pilgrims/tourists (floating population). Plastics such as PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) Bottles, MLP (Multi-Layer Polythene) Covers, LDP (Low-Density Polyethylene) covers and Liquor Bottles, etc. are being littered on the road/roadside while they pass through the reserve.
This has lead to various problems such has :
- Attracting wild animals to the road leading to frequent road accidents
- Unnecessary man-animal encounters
- Possibility of the spread of communicable diseases to wild animals
- Possibility of bioaccumulation and biomagnification of plastics in the bodies of wild animals due to unintentional consumption of plastics
- Change in behaviour of wild animals
- Affecting the growth of flora in the reserve
Not only the floating population, but the locals also generate a considerable amount of waste. This waste is not disposed of properly, unfortunately it also ends up being burned in the forest region.
Because the conservation of the Nallamala ecosystem is paramount for Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) Team, we at Recykal came up with the concept of employing Plastic Waste Pickers from the local community to keep the Nallamala environment clean. It was not a one stop solution, as only collection was not the answer. Improper disposal was also to be avoided. A new initiative helped in addressing the waste management issue in this region.
Mana Srisailam – Clean and Green Srisailam
Inaugarated by Recykal, this initiative, known as “Mana Srisailam – Clean and Green Srisailam”, Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR), came up with a novel concept of Standardization of Collection, Segregation, and Disposal/ Recycling of Plastics and Liquor Bottles, which is implemented methodologically.
Everything worked out when all forces came together to implement the solution. Everyone became a part of the NSTR team, the locals became the plastic collectors, the collection and segregation point was set up; known as Recykal Point and the chain was continued by tying up with recycling industries.
The step-by-step method used by Team Recykal and NSTR are as follows –
- Collection of plastic
- Segregation of Plastic
- Baling of Segregated Materials
- Transportation to the notified Recycling centers
- Making new products from recycled plastic
The expected achievements of this project is that Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) will soon be a Plastic-Free Zone. It will also prevent animals from consuming plastic litter and other wastes. It will also help to avoid man-animal contact. Most importantly, it has also generated employment for the locals.
It makes us proud that so far, we have transported 350kgs of plastics to authorized recyclers through ‘Recykal’ for recycling in their units. (Some of the plastic waste was collected even before the start of the project).
Waste Collection Drive with the Swachhta Sevaks
Recykal, The Telangana Forest Department, and Andhra Pradesh Forest Department supported by Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) launched the ‘Waste Collection Drive with the Swachhta Sevaks‘ in India’s largest tiger reserve. The collection drive focussed on sensitising the stakeholders in the forest ecosystem while acknowledging the efforts of local Swacchta Sevaks.
PLASTIC-HUNTERS: Tiger Reserve on mission to clean forest, save animals by the support of swachhta sevaksRohit Gopidi, IFS-Forest Division Officer(Amrabad Division)
Acknowledging the efforts of the local officials and swacchta sevaks was important since they are the hands that build and support the waste management ecosystem.
Would you like to initiate such a project which will help our environment as well as create awareness? It is a great way to nourish the habitat and uplift the locals.
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