Curbing plastic waste: Kerala’s Vagamon gets green checkposts

At the five checkposts, green guards will inspect each vehicle and collect any plastic waste being brought into the popular tourist destination.
Green checkpost in Vagamon
Green checkpost in Vagamon
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For the first time in Kerala, checkposts have begun functioning at the hill station of Vagamon in Idukki district with the aim to transform the destination into a green corridor. Five green checkposts have been set up at the entry points into Vagamon, where green guards will inspect each vehicle and collect any plastic waste being brought in. The project has been implemented in association with the Haritha Keralam Mission and Elappara grama panchayat.

The five green checkposts are at Elappara Town, Vattappathal, Pullikkanam, Vazhikkadavu and Chemmannu. The checkposts, which will function 24 hours, will have Haritha Karma Sena members appointed as green guards who will inspect all vehicles coming into Vagamon. The guards will collect any plastic waste being carried in the vehicles and advise travellers not to dispose any plastic waste in the hill station during their visit.

Haritha Keralam Mission Idukki district co-coordinator Dr GS Madhu told TNM, “The project, named Vazhikatan Vagamon, aims to change the hill destination into a green corridor. During a visit, Haritha Keralam Mission Executive Vice Chairperson Dr TN Seema and a team found that most parts of Vagamon are littered with waste, including plastic. Then we called a meeting with the district administration and decided to implement green checkposts in the hill station.”

Madhu continued, “In addition to this, bottle booths have been set up in Upputhara, Elappara Town, Vagamon Town, Vagamon Tea Junction, Pullikkanam, Mottakkunnu (meadow), Parking Ground and Kochukaruntharuvi areas. Tourists can deposit their plastic waste in these bottle booths.”

“Within a short period, the Vazhikatan Vagamon project has shown how successful it has been in transforming the destination into a green corridor. We plan to implement the green destination project in Munnar too,” Madhu said.

Speaking to TNM, Elappara panchayat president R Rajendaran said, “Our aim is to make the hill station plastic and waste free. Green Meadows and Pine Valley are the main attractions in Vagamon. The green checkposts will collect Rs 10 per vehicle as user fee, which will be used to pay the wages of the Haritha Karma Sena members.”

“In addition, five green shops have been set up in Mottakkunu, Pine Valley Parking Ground, Pine Valley entrance, Vagamon and Vagamon Tea Junction. Visitors can buy cloth bags and other eco-friendly products at these shops. These products will also be available at the green counters near the checkposts,” Rajendran said.

Jomon George, a tourist from Kochi, told TNM, “I’m a regular visitor to Vagamon. Earlier we used to see a lot of plastic waste in Mottakkunnu and Pine Valley. After the green checkposts have come up, the hill station looks neat and clean. The green corridor project should be implemented in other destinations such as Munnar and Ramakkalmedu.”

Vagamon is the third most popular tourist destination in Idukki district after Munnar and Thekkady.

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