Plastic usage affecting protected wildlife

Plastic usage affecting protected wildlife

New Delhi: Till today we were concerned with how the use of plastic has badly affected our environment and impacted the health of humans. But a new threat has emerged recently where even the protected wildlife has not remained untouched by the plastic menace.

An image of a leopard with a polythene bag in its mouth has gone viral on social media, raising concern over the health of wildlife. The photo is said to be taken near Corbett Tiger Reserve in Nainital. The image was reportedly shared by Parag Madhukar Dhakate, who serves as conservator of forest (western range), on social media.

According to a report, the forest official has termed the incident as ‘very alarming’ and said that such an incident has never been reported in the past. Environmentalists and conservationists have echoed similar concerns on the issue, saying that human interference has started to have an impact on the wild habitation, which may lead to more man-animal conflicts in the future.

So, how did human garbage reached the interior of the jungle? Experts blame the garbage dumping on the edges of the forest. And it is not only the garbage dumping by humans but the encroachment by people deep into the forest that is also causing distressed situations for animals.

Environmentalists argue that unless the government takes strict measures to implement the plastic ban, the situation is unlikely to improve. Also, the government needed to stop human encroachment into the jungles if it is really concerned about the welfare of protected wildlife.

According to a study by a group of environmentalists in Dehradun, many wild animals have come into contact with plastic waste that was dumped along the edges of forests. Though officials in Uttarakhand contend that they have increased the patrolling to tackle garbage dumping, little improvement has been observed in this regard.

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