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Blanket ban on plastic bags in forests
- No polythene allowed in zoos, jungles and sanctuaries from next month

Jamshedpur, Sept. 15: Planning to visit the jungles of Jharkhand or the Rajrappa temple next month' Carry everything, except for plastic and polythene bags.

The reason: the state forest and environment department has decided to ban the use of any type of polythene in the national parks, reserves forests, sanctuaries and zoos across Jharkhand from next month.

The department has also decided to put a blanket ban on the use of polythene bags within a two-kilometre radius of the Rajrappa temple, where thousands of devotees visit everyday from various parts of the country.

Sources in the department said the decision has been taken according to the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act of 1986. The department had been receiving a large number of complaints from local forest officials about the indiscriminate use of polythene bags in national parks, sanctuaries and reserve forests.

In most cases, tourists generally throw polythene bags, after consuming the packed contents, creating lots of problems for the department.

'All our efforts to make the tourists aware of the harmful effect of indiscriminate use of polythene packs and requesting them not to throw them in forest failed. Finally, it was decided to introduce a complete ban on the use of polythene in the forests of Jharkhand,' said forest officials.

Deputy secretary in the forest and environment ministry, Subhash Chandra Sinha, has already issued a notification banning polythene in places, including Betla National Park, Palamu Project Tiger, Mahuadadh Wolf Sanctuary, Udhava Bird Sanctuary, Kalamati Deer Park and all the wildlife sanctuaries in Hazaribagh, Dalma, Koderma, Lavalang, Parasnath and Topchanchi.

Forest officials working in national parks, reserves and wildlife sanctuaries have welcomed the ban.

'This will at least give us relief from employing people to pick up plastic litter left by tourists,' said a forest official.

Regional chief conservator of forest, Hazaribagh, B.R. Ralani said they have already started making preparations to implement the ban in their area.

To make this a success, the guards standing at the entrance of forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks will check to see if tourists are carrying polythene bags. 'Earlier when there was no ban and we were not in a position to stop tourists,' he said.

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