Frankly Frank: Don’t treat forests as picnic spots and defile them

Picnickers have no business drinking liquor in our pristine forests
Heaps of garbage collected - the result of unbridled indulgence and irresponsible behaviour.
Heaps of garbage collected - the result of unbridled indulgence and irresponsible behaviour.Photo: Asavari Kulkarni

For some, a trip to a forest is like reconnecting with nature, but for many, it is about indulgence without any regret. Here, I am referring to those who forget their responsibility towards nature and, instead of being the solution, choose to be the problem.

It is very sad to say, but there is no other way to describe the way our pristine forests are being ravaged by those who choose them as picnic spots, and where their behaviour takes a form that is much worse than if the wild animals that inhabit them had gone awry.

Heaps of garbage collected - the result of unbridled indulgence and irresponsible behaviour.
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Come monsoon, the many seasonal waterfalls within our forested areas become an open dumping ground for glass beer bottles, beer cans, plastic mineral water bottles, food waste, as well as paper and plastic plates.

These will then lie there and pollute the area, or get washed away in the streams that eventually go downhill and merge into rivers and the sea.

Even as the government is talking about opening waterfall circuits inside the forested areas, currently there are no environmental protection measures in place to stop unruly visitors from having their way.

Even as the government is talking about opening waterfall circuits inside the forested areas, currently there are no environmental protection measures in place to stop unruly visitors from having their way.

Every weekend, picnickers carrying cartons of beer and biryani packets enter Goa's pristine jungle areas to have their slice of fun and leave behind food and waste that is devoured by unsuspecting animals. 

While nature continues to face the onslaught of these unruly visitors, who treat forested areas as their fiefdoms, the custodians or guardians are left to watch helplessly despite the law being on their side. They are either overwhelmed by the number of visitors or just too lazy to do their work.

We all know that drinking in the open is banned by law. But does that apply to our forested areas?

Heaps of garbage collected - the result of unbridled indulgence and irresponsible behaviour.
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I have been witness to Goan youth (I emphasise the word “Goan” because not many tourists venture inside the forests) carrying beer boxes and even gas stoves to cook food, all in the name of a picnic

When the picnickers are done with having their fill of merriment, the glass bottles, food items and other waste are left behind.

These picnickers take great trouble climbing upstream with loaded beer cases and liquor bottles, but leave them behind when it is much easier to walk downstream with the much lighter empty bottles.

These picnickers take great trouble climbing upstream with loaded beer cases and liquor bottles, but leave them behind when it is much easier to walk downstream with the much lighter empty bottles.

Very few picnickers take their waste back with them; possibly, many are too drunk to climb down the slippery slopes with the empty beer and booze bottles, so they remain behind.

Heaps of garbage collected - the result of unbridled indulgence and irresponsible behaviour.
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Many of these picnickers pride themselves on being environmentally-conscious Goans. But their actions speak much louder than their words. Is it that somewhere down the line, our conscience as self-respecting Goans is dead?

In Tambdi Surla, inside the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, lies the ancient Mahadev Temple, which is of great relevance to Goans.

It is a well-known fact the unusual rush on Sundays is of people coming here for merriment rather than for worship at the temple – the latter is just an excuse.

Many visit this temple, and on Sundays, the rush is considerable. As soon as people finish paying their respects at the temple, their unruly side comes to the fore at the several streams in the area.

At the entrance of the sanctuary, there is no vehicle check done to see whether alcohol is being carried inside the wildlife sanctuary. It is a well-known fact the unusual rush on Sundays is of people coming here for merriment rather than for worship at the temple – the latter is just an excuse.

Heaps of garbage collected - the result of unbridled indulgence and irresponsible behaviour.
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Goa's most beautiful and quiet places come to life in the rains, but the peace and greenery are shattered by a large number of our youth, who think they have a license to litter and do as they please. 

Our politicians are most willing to pose with brooms to showcase Swachh Goa for publicity. Could it be that they have no clue about what's going on in our forests? Why aren’t they doing something so that our forests, too, remain swachh?

Each village panchayat needs to pass a resolution banning food items and alcohol inside forested areas. But will they do it? The concept should be – come, enjoy the magic moments… Take back whatever you brought, and leave without any trace of litter!

So, how does one deal with this problem of unruly picnickers? The law must certainly take its firm course.

Each village panchayat needs to pass a resolution banning food items and alcohol inside forested areas. But will they do it? The concept should be – come, enjoy the magic moments… Take back whatever you brought, and leave without any trace of litter!

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