BHUBANESWAR: Come June 5, polythene will be a no-no inside Nandankanan Zoological Park. Visitors will have to swap polythene packets with paper bags at the gates or pay a fine of Rs 100 for violation.
Nandankanan Zoo, a notified wildlife sanctuary, banned polythene quite sometime back. However, its enforcement was lax since providing an alternative to the thousands of visitors proved difficult.
However, the animal park management has decided to launch a drive beginning June 5, observed as World Environment Day, to enforce the ban. A meeting of 60-odd guides of the zoo and owners of shopping establishments, abutting Nandankanan, was held on Saturday in this regard. Zoo Deputy Director Chitta Ranjan Mishra and Assistant Director K L Purohit were present.
As per the plans, visitors will be sensitised about not carrying polythene bags into the zoo. At the entry gates, personnel will be deployed to check the packets which visitors mostly use to carry food items.
“We plan to keep paper bags at the entry so that plastic bags can be swapped. We will charge a nominal fee for the environment-friendly paper bags,” said Director Dr Sudarshan Panda.
The role of shop-owners will also be significant since the zoo plans to store paper bags with them so that visitors procure the same from the outlets instead of queuing up at the entry gate for the same. “The shop-owners too have been asked to cooperate in this endeavour,” he added. The guides will also help the visitors in getting plastic bags and locate dustbins inside the zoo apart from sensitising them on the prohibition.
Plastic bags apart, bottles will also be thoroughly checked. For plastic bottles, the zoo has put in place a separate arrangement under which a token will be issued at the rate of Rs 10 per bottle. The visitors, who would deposit the token on their return by submitting the bottle, would get their money refunded failing which they would forfeit the same. The idea is to discourage dumping of plastic bottles inside the animal park. Anyone found inside the park with a plastic bottle but without a token will be fined Rs 100. Plastic bags will invite similar fine.
The park has decided to sensitise the visitors for the first 15 days and there will be no fine. Thereafter, the enforcement will be stringent. The animal park records a footfall of over 25 lakh every year.