Plastic threat to a winter flight from Himalayas

A tourist to the hill station on Monday had a tough time, struggling to free herself from a plastic rope that her legs got entangled in.

She—bird lovers identified her to be a Blue Rock Thrush as per Salim Ali’s Book of Indian Birds —was on her routine winter jaunt to this part of the world from her home in the frozen Himalayan foothills.

The bird landed on the property belonging to Geetha Srinivasan, convenor of the Nilgiris chapter of Indian National Trust for Art, Culture and Heritage (INTACH), off Udhagamandalam-Kotagiri Road and abutting the Kodappamund Channel. Ms. Srinivasan’s property is a haven for birds for its rich green foliage and flowering shrubs.

The bird was found in a bush inside the property, its feet heavily entangled in a plastic rope that snapped the bird’s flight over the hills.

Those at the property responded quick, picked up the bird, and snipped the strings with a scissor to set the bird free. It was then Ms. Srinivasan identified the visitor to her property to be a Blue Rock Thrush from the migratory cult.


According to Salim Ali’s book, the bird leaves the Himalayan foothills in winter and drops by the Subcontinent, including Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Satisfaction writ large on her face for being able to host the rare visitor and for freeing it from its ordeal, Ms. Srinivasan said the incident stressed the need to step up the war against plastic.

Acknowledging the efforts taken by the district administration and various NGOs to make the Nilgiris a plastic-free district, she said a lot more still needed to be done.

Though the public and the traders here were, to a large extent, sensitised to the after-effects of plastic, very few are aware of the damage plastic did to bio-diversity, she said.

In a place known both as a vacation spot and a natural heritage hotspot, tourists, both humans from the plains and migratory birds, have to be cared for.


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