“When they visit the forest, they bring in disposable water bottles, one-time use plastic food plates, soft-drink bottles and cans,” Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain, a government forest conservator, told AFP.

“It is tough to clean up,” he added.

Bangladesh environment minister Md Shahab Uddin announced a single-use plastic ban covering 6,500 square kilometres (2,500 square miles) of the forest late Monday.

“Single-use plastics have severely damaged the environment and biodiversity of the Sundarbans,” the minister said.

His decision was immediately hailed by environmentalists.

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