India’s biggest clean up effort. How Chennai raised an army to fight the war against plastic
India’s largest socially-led cleaning initiative is happening in Chennai. The city is waging a war against plastic. Attention must be paid.
Plastic is polluting our cities. Clogging our drains. Killing our cattle, and our marine life. Ruining the landscape and the environment.
6 years ago 150 CTC volunteers traveled to Tada, an ‘eco tourism’ spot and went deep inside the forest to restore the scenic Tada falls to its original natural beauty. 500 big bags with 2 tons of garbage including plastics and broken bottles were removed. An environmental awareness movement was born.
Now in its 6th year, their ambitious target for June 7th was to collect 50+ tons of garbage from 20+ km of the Chennai sea shore with 8000+ volunteers.
Chennai Trekking Club organised the first Chennai Coastal Cleanup in May 2010 during which 880 volunteers collected 8.9 tonnes of garbage along the 15-km coast from Marina to Injambakkam.
A second edition followed in January 2011 with 1,000 volunteers collecting 9 tonnes of garbage.
In February 2012, 45 groups participated and entered the Limca Book of Records for the fastest cleanup with 2,369 volunteers collecting 17.6 tonnes of garbage in two hours.
Last year a few volunteers even plunged into the sea and fished out plastic waste and abandoned nets from the sea floor. They collected waste from a depth of 17 metres. A turtle was also found dead among the debris.
Garbage is properly segregated by kind and dispatched to the right agencies where it can be re-purposed, recycled or responsibly disposed of.
Most of the plastics collected from beaches were also segregated and dispatched to an NGO, Hand in Hand to lay plastic tar roads. The road below, for example, was made using the 3.5 tons of plastic collected, segregated and recycled from the beaches during Chennai Coastal Cleanup 2013.
One of the main arms of the campaign is the #noplasticchallenge to get people to minimise the use of plactic in their daily lives. A part of the initiative encourages plastic-free shopping by identifying and patronizing grocery retailers who use and encourage eco-friendly packaging.
To fight the battle against the never ending stream of millions of plastic mugs and use-and-throw water bottles which are used every day, CTC’s creative team has designed some beautiful mug designs to drive awareness and usage.
The initiative sees participation from all ages, classes and denominations – ranging from individuals, colonies, groups, and even corporates.
It’s a wonderful, inclusive, organic initiative that is gaining momentum as the years go by. Here’s to simillar initiatives in the rest of India.
Please do your bit to contribute to the movement. Do share and spread awareness as much as you can.
Do visit www.chennaitrekkers.org to learn more and find out how you can be a part of the campaign.
After enthusiastic response from a lot of other cities, the coastal clean-up went national!
These are the initiatives that happened on the same day as part of an #IndiaNationalSweep initiative.
Pondicherry – Pondicherry Beach – CTC
Tirunelveli – Thamirabarani River – Nellai Nature Club
Tuticorin – Tuticorin Coast – Pear City Nature Society
Madurai – Awareness Campaign – Maram Madurai
Vizag – King George Hospital – MEECONS
Hyderabad – Khajaguda Lake – Great Hyderabad Adventures Club
Coimbatore – Selvachinthamani Kulam – EFI, MC3
Chennai – Mudichur, Keezhkattalai Lake – EFI
Dharmapuri – Ramakkal Lake – Anbum Aramum
Thanjavur – Samanthaan Kulam – Natives of Thanjavur
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