Asia & Australia

December 21, 2017

National Parks should be plastic free: Uttarakhand HC


Declaring all national parks, including tiger reserve, elephant reserve, Jim Corbett and Rajaji National Park as plastic free zones, the Uttarakhand High Court banned dumping of garbage around rivers and its tributaries.

The court also asked the State Government to provide insurance cover to all pilgrims visiting the Char Dhams at a reasonable premium.

A bench of Justice Alok Singh and Justice Rajiv Sharma said, “There shall be no dumping of garbage on both sides of major rivers as well as their tributaries within a radius of 01 kilometer from the edges of the banks, as the crow flies, within one week.”

Ordering the District Magistrates/SDMs to identify new sites to dump garbage, the court said that the garbage already dumped on the banks of rivers and its tributaries should be removed within one week and the same shall be disposed of in a scientific manner.

“National Parks, including Tiger Reserve, Elephant Reserve, Jim Corbett and Rajaji National Park, are ordered to be declared plastic free zones. No visitor shall be permitted to carry out plastic carry bags except 02 water bottles each. Empty water bottles shall be handed over to the staff at the exit points. Persons manning at entry and exit points shall ensure due compliance of the order,” the court observed.

Expressing serious concern over the unnatural deaths of animals, including tigers and elephants, the court directed the state government to constitute special cadre of Tiger/Elephant Protection Force in Corbett National Park as well as Rajaji National Park to protect the tigers and elephants from poaching within a period of 3 months.

“We also recommend to the State Government to remove the encroachments from the vital corridors including at Sunderkhal between Dhikuli and Dhangadi on the banks of River Kosi. The State is directed to take effective steps for rehabilitation of the persons who are affected/displaced. The persons who have encroached upon the land belong to the lowest strata of society. Their settlement must be carried out with due sensitivity,” the court ordered.

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