Volunteers took to the city’s coastline, cleaning it and the abutting fishing hamlets as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD) observed on Saturday. The day is marked each year on the third Saturday of September as an initiative of the Washington-based Ocean Conservancy, a volunteer effort for ocean health.
Volunteers from different groups turned up at the beaches as early as 5.30 a.m. The Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard also organised a cleanup drive with the theme — strive for trash-free seas and coasts. A total of 1,000 volunteers participated in the event.
S. Paramesh, Commander, Coast Guard Region (East), stressed on keeping coastal areas, especially beaches, clean. During the drive, 900 kg of non-biodegradable waste was collected and handed over to municipal authorities for proper disposal.
Around 300 volunteers participated in the event organized by the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, in partnership with the Indian Maritime Foundation, at Besant Nagar. The cleanup is part of ongoing efforts to raise awareness about global marine pollution. Among the volunteers were U.S. Consulate General staff, merchant mariners, students and local residents.
Moulik Berkana, the Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, commended participants.
“We hope to inspire people to keep our coasts and waters clean, through proper waste management and disposal. Chennai has some picturesque coastal spaces, including Marina and Elliot’s beach,” said Mr. Berkana.
Smaller cleanup drives were organised in places like Kasimedu beach, where the Dawoodi Bohra community organised the activity. Close to 20 tonnes was collected, said Murtaza Hasim Khorakiwala, Nazafat (cleaning) Committee, Chennai chapter.
Hundreds of volunteers from Save a Turtle team also participated in the activity. Almost 27 tonnes of waste was collected. However, organisations like the Indian Maritime Foundation conducted the event in the evening.