CAMPAIGN A clean stretch of beach is hard to come by. But the Chennai Trekking Club’s recent initiative cleared up 15 long km of it. SHRADDHA NAIR
Fifteen long kilometres of beach from the sands of Marina to the shore along Injambakkam was buzzing with activity as around 2,400 people including children, college students and professionals had gathered for a cause. From six to nine on a Sunday morning, they toiled under a steadily rising sun towards a cleaner shoreline.
The Thiruvanmiyur beach alone saw 250-300 people, including students from Loyola College sporting T-shirts donated by UniverCell, officials from Mindtree, Cognizant and Logica, on the job. It’s only when you take a closer look at an event like this that you realise that it’s not just about going to the beach one morning and collecting litter; it’s about recognising a much bigger, extremely underestimated, problem and doing it as a team. Needless to say, the entire group felt a real sense of pride and accomplishment every time they stood back and examined how much cleaner and more beautiful the beach looked. Their feelings were, without a doubt, justified. By the end of the drive, 1765 biodegradable plastic bags of trash had been collected; a total weight seven tons!
This was the third Chennai Coastal Cleanup sponsored by several organisations like Biotec, Nokia, Dell and Logica. Photocopy Inc. was a keystone to the event’s success. Photocopy Inc. headed by K. Anand and Sandeep Mohan not only gathered 50 students to participate but also helped mobilise volunteers from their respective pick-up points to their allotted beaches.
During my time at the Cleanup I got talking with quite a few participants. Vignesh, a photography enthusiast, works at Cognizant. Also a member of the Chennai Trekkers Club, he tells me about how CTC also does social events like visiting orphanages. I caught a few quick minutes with CTC founder, Peter Van Gietwhen, who has been in Chennai for 14 years and who started CTC in 1998 to bring together like-minded, exploration-loving people together. The event was, and this goes without saying, a great triumph. The best moment for me was seeing the fishermen and their children watch the cleanup drive and slowly begin to participate themselves. It was encouraging to see how quickly and easily the message was spreading.This event gave Chennai more than just clean coasts; it gave us food for thought.
Shraddha is a Grade XI student.
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