Chennai, July 21(BPNS)
The Tamil Nadu forest department collected and cleared 100 kg of plastic waste that washed ashore on the Krusadai Island in the Gulf of Mannar off Tamil Nadu.
In a statement, the forest department said that the work was carried out by a team of seven forest personnel including watchers, guards, and anti-poaching watchers.
The forest department Mandapam Range officer, G Venkatesh in the statement said that the department used to conduct such drives every week when they patrol the island. He said that around 50 kg of waste including plastic bottles and covers used to be collected, this week it was double the general waste.
The forest department officials said that plastic bottles and milk sachets thrown from ships and fishing boats accounts for the majority of plastic waste in Mandapam and surrounding areas. There are seven islands under the Mandapam forest range.
Glass bottles and clothes are also collected in large numbers as waste, the forest department said in the statement. The waste is collected in sacks and brought to the mainland and handed over to the local body for disposal.
The forest department said that if the sailors and fishermen had acted responsibly without throwing the waste in the sea and stored in the vessels and brought to the mainland, the Mandapam islands would be free of plastic wastes.
K .Bharathi, fishermen association leader while speaking to BPNS said, “We are creating awareness among the fishermen on the grave dangers associated with the plastic wealth, both for the flora and fauna as well as the marine wealth. The sailors are also to be more responsible while throwing away the waste into the sea. They have to collect the waste in their vessels itself and brought to the mainland for effective disposals.”
However environmentalists are not impressed and K. Balamurugan, of the Chennai environmental protection group while speaking to BPNS said,” The situation is turning from bad to worse, and even after several rounds of awareness nothing concrete is happening. The coastal police must be strict on this and impose fines proportionate to the waste being collected in the islands.
The waste that lands up in the shore is brought by waves but an equal or more volume of waste will still be in the sea. The ecosystem is degrading and the authorities must act before it is too late. We are doing our part but action has to be taken at the ground level.”