MYSURU, India — To protect the environment and conserve forests, forest department staff and residents cleared two tonnes of plastic waste from the Kabini Backwaters in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka near Mysuru. 

“During this drive, we found heaps of medical waste, garbage, plastic, and used shoes,” said S.P. Mahadev, Assistant Conservator Forest.

“This waste collection drive was carried out for the second time this year by the forest officials along with local resort owners and villagers.” 

“Plastic waste poses a threat to the wild animals in these backwaters. Kabini Dam, near the town of Heggadadevanakote or H.D.Kote, is witnessing heavy inflow after the rains in areas like Wayanad in Kerala. The plastic was collected from the Udhpur anti-poaching camp to the Mastigudi Sunset Point of the Kabini Backwaters, which is a six-kilometer (four-mile) stretch,” said Mahadev. 

“The plastic waste is creating problems for animals as well as the natural resources of the forest.” 

Earlier on June 22, Mysore City Corporation, Namma Mysore Foundation, and locals decided to start a clean-up drive and recycle plastic found in the backwaters to make furniture.

The Kabini Backwaters in Karnataka are famous for the forest safari conducted by the Karnataka forest department along the Kabini river. The Department offers tourists two types of safaris: car safaris and boat safaris.

Some of the wildlife that guests may see are elephants, cormorants, cranes, darters, crocodiles, and snakes. The boat safari lasts for about 90 minutes. 

The Kabini dam is located on the Kabini River in the Mysore district. The dam, which was erected in 1974, is 696 meters long with a catchment area of 2141.90 square kilometers. The dam covers 55 hectares of land, including woods, rivers, lakes, and valleys. 

The lush forests around the dam are home to various birds, making it an ideal spot for bird viewing and nature lovers. During the Colonial era, this area was a famous hunting ground for the Maharajas and officers of the British Raj.

The dam is now a key source of water for the Karnataka government, allowing it to supply ample amounts of water to over 20 villages and 14 hamlets across the state. 

The Karnataka government launched the dam project to strengthen and stabilize the region’s electric power supply.

The scenic setting of Kabini dam can be reached by road from Mysore via Mananthavadi road in about an hour and a half. It is well-connected to the nearby city of Bengaluru.

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Anindita Ghosh and Ojaswin Kathuria. Map by Urvashi Makwana)

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