If visiting the Statue of Unity in Gujarat is on your list for some time now, we have a few more reasons to add. The statue will soon become plastic free and will also be getting a new attraction nearby — the Kevadia Zoological Park. Read on for the details. By Kumar Shree

The Statue of Unity will soon become free of plastic water bottles. The Forest Department plans on introducing reusable glass water bottles within the premises. These glass bottles will not have the regular RO water which is usually available in plastic bottles. Instead, they will have pure and filtered Narmada water. The water offered in these glass bottles will also have seasonal herb-infused flavours such as mint and fennel during summer, holy basil during rains, and ginger during winters. This environment-friendly initiative is called Ekta Paani.

The packaging unit for these bottles will come up at Ekta Nursery, Kevadia. Ekta Mahila Mandal Trust and a Vadodara-based startup, Srishti Lifescience will run the unit together. The plant will take up an investment of INR 15 lakh and will employ local tribal ladies for operations. This initiative will prevent the generation of around 10.38 tonnes of single-use plastic waste every month. Visitors can choose to carry these bottles as a souvenir or even return them for an attractive buyback.

In another news, the Kevadia Zoological Park, which is two kilometres away from the Statue of Unity has opened its doors as well. The park, spread across 375 acres, will run for a short time on an experimental basis. At present, it houses 1000 animals and 62 species of birds. Moreover, its strategic location on the right bank of the Narmada river makes it ideal for 170 fauna species. These include biomes from Asia, America, Africa, and Australia. The park also has two bird aviaries with geodesic designs. These are designated for Indian and exotic bird species.

The tickets for a safari entry to the park are up for sale on the Statue of Unity website. While an adult ticket costs INR 200, a kid’s one can be bought for INR 125.

Related: Gujarat’s Statue Of Unity Features In The List Of World’s Greatest Places