Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chennai Coastal Cleanup6

"On June 7th, early in the morning, 5500 volunteers cleaned up 29 tons of garbage from the beaches between Marina and Pondicherry as part of the 6th year edition of the Chennai Coastal Cleanup, an initiative to create awareness among the public on the environmental impact of the increasing garbage footprint and health hazards of plastics. 120 major Corporates, NGOs, schools and other groups participated in the event on Sunday morning between 6-9am. The volunteers segregated garbage in three major categories: 13% glass, 32% recyclable waste (plastics, sandals, cardboard, fishing nets, etc.) and 54% of non-recyclable waste. 45% of the total volume of garbage collected will be recycled by Earth Recycler and the remaining garbage will move to the garbage dump."

Every year in Chennai, we have a Coastal Cleanup. This was the 6th edition. I had signed up for the 5th edition last year, but due to some reasons (maybe laziness) I did not go. I would say I wasn't aware about the activities and how awesome it would be.

This time, the Chennai Trekking Club initiative, had a prequel to it. NoPlasticChallenge! I was challenged by a friend. It was an eye opening experience. I wrote about it here.

This prequel along with infographics, videos, just like movie trailers, generated a lot of awareness amongst people. CTC also designed mugs to replace paper cups, bottles to replace the usual plastic bottles that we keep disposing. This motivated me to start giving deeper thought on how I am using plastic in my daily life.

The videos, blogposts, the flash mobs and mime acts across Chennai got together a lot of people and united them in working for a cause.

So for the D-Day, there were several beaches that were identified. Each beach had an incharge. Those who signed up for a particular meeting point contacted the incharge and figured out the transport. Several cycled, and car pooled to reach their allotted beach.

I had a friend along with me. So we just took a bus to one of the meeting points. It was a little late and we couldn't meet the incharge. Luckily he answered our call and we figured out that the beach was elsewhere. I think this aspect could be improved next year. So T and I decided to just go to a very familiar place, Besant Nagar beach. Chennai has a huge coastal line. So we were a little away from the commonly visited beach.

Once we reached, we saw several people with yellow gloves and huge white sacks. We tagged along and started picking garbage. We initially picked plastics. We found several interesting things! Broken toys, toothbrushes, foam, chappals, glass bottles and what not! Yep. Luckily, it was cloudy! This enabled all of us to pick the trash peacefully while engaging in friendly and thoughtful discussions.

Before leaving, we got a nice matka, some refreshments which made us forget the fact that we didn't get to see the sunrise. We also got a lot of information from one of the volunteers on how they intend to separate the waste after the collection. He told how this was not a one day thing and about the post processing.

I am just glad that I could play a small part. At the same time I was amazed at how selflessly these volunteers were working for a cleaner environment. We should definitely think twice before throwing that piece of paper on the road or a plastic ice cream wrapper on the beach. It doesn't hurt to roam around, find a dust bin and then dispose.

To know more about this- visit this page-

Get started! Small initiatives could lead to a peaceful living.

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