After chappals, over 350 kgs of ‘religious’ scarves found in Marine National Park

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After volunteers picked up hundreds of broken chappals from the beaches in and near Jamnagar's Marine National Park and Sanctuary last October, they have found a new invader — green, saffron and red religious scarves apparently discarded by pilgrims who visit a temple and two mosques in the area.

Hundreds of schoolchildren and volunteers from local NGOs have been combing the beaches of Pirotan island and Balachadi since Monday in a drive organised by the park authorities, and the effort has resulted in more than 350 kilograms of garbage being gathered so far.

"Most of the waste picked up from Balachadi beach were these religious scarves and cloth material. There is a mosque and a temple on the beach and these seem to have been discarded by the people who visit to worship there," said Ravidutt Kamboj, Chief Conservator of Forests at the Marine National Park.

While Pirotan island lies within the confines of the sanctuary area, Balachadi beach is adjacent to it and garbage strewn on the beaches often find their way into the protected areas' waters and beaches, causing harm to corals, fish and marine mammals.

"Besides cleaning up the beach, we are hoping locals become more aware of keeping the beaches clean," Kamboj said.

Balachadi is a hugely popular local tourist spot and residents of Jamnagar city, which lies just 25 kms away, visit the sandy beach regularly.

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