Check-posts to be set up to keep Sabarimala plastic-free

The check-posts would be organised and manned jointly by the Pathanamthitta district administration and the Forest Department, official sources said here.

Devotees would be asked to deposit plastic bottles and bags at the check-posts and they would be given cotton carry bags to take essential articles while going up the hill where the shrine is located,  sources told PTI.

Supply of potable water on the trekking route would be augmented in order to discourage pilgrims from carrying PET bottles and throwing them wantonly around in forests through which the trekking path passes.

The main check posts would be opened at Pampa, the base camp at the foothills on the banks of the River Pampa, and Nilakkal, the main parking ground where most devotees disembark before starting the trekking.

Women self-help chain Kudumbasree would be roped in to keep cloth bag supply to pilgrims at a nominal price. Dumping of plastic articles into Pampa river has been identified as a major pollution source not only for the immediate environs of Sabarimala but even for the downstream villages and towns.

Support of neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka,which account for most pilgrims, would also be sought for mounting an awareness campaign before commencement of the two-month-long pilgrim season.

An average 30 million pilgrims visit Ayyappa temple during Mandala pooja and 'Makaravilakku" season, which culminates on the Makarsamkranthi on January 14.

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