There are no tourists now, but imagine a national park that’s famous for years of plastic waste more than its tigers or elephants. This is where Corbett is headed, as India’s first Tiger Reserve and Asia’s first National Park. Over 200,000 tourists came here in 2019, and left behind a mountain of waste for villages to deal with. It is time to support Corbett’s fragile rural communities to mitigate the impact of waste on key wildlife and degraded forest habitats in the beautiful Terai Arc Landscape.
With its presence in air, water, and soil, plastic pollution is an unacknowledged pandemic. The widespread dumping and burning of plastics is a regular sight around Corbett, and there is an urgent need to prevent it by strengthening Corbett’s rural solid waste management systems.
Since 2013, Waste Warriors Corbett’s 9 local team members and 15 SHG women have tirelessly managed waste around eastern Corbett. Efforts to engage villages, change behaviours, and build SWM systems have slowed down habitat degradation and mitigated the impact of waste pollution.