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Pilgrims' litter puts jumbos on plastic diet

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prasad1

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Animals such as elephants and deer get attracted to the scent of salt, sweet or fruit left in the covers, bowls or tetrapacks and swallow the waste and die.

Researchers examining elephant dung in the Nilgiris have found plastic, tetra packs and small cups made of thermocol in the poop, leading to concerns about enforcement of rules for visitors to forest areas.

Founder of vulture conservation group Arulagam S Bharathidasan said his team had found non-biodegradable plastic waste in elephant dung in five places in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgiris. "We found portions of chips packets, tetra packs, cups and small bowls made of thermocol in the elephant dung in MTR," he said.

He said pilgrims visiting temples inside the core forest areas are the ones who dump plastic waste. During temple festivals shops spring up on the edge of forests and sell items in plastic bags. Snacks as well as offering to the deities are bagged in plastic, which the pilgrims toss in the protected forest area after use. Similarly, small bowls made of thermocol are used to distribute food at the temples.

Animals such as elephants and deer get attracted to the scent of salt, sweet or fruit left in the covers, bowls or tetrapacks and swallow the waste and die.

The team found plastic in elephant dung at Bannari temple in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Thorappalli, Nilakkottai, Bennei, Masinagudi, Sigur and Singara areas in the Nilgiris.

Pilgrims' litter puts jumbos on plastic diet - The Times of India
 
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