May 16, 2010. A group of 800 volunteers gathered to clean the beaches of Chennai. It was an unusual sight to see people, most of them IT professionals, with red and green biodegradable plastic bags walking on the beach collecting garbage early Sunday morning. Chennai Coastal Cleanup marked the beginning of an initiative by the Chennai Trekking Club towards spreading awareness to preserve nature in and around the city.
The day’s activities began with picking up the volunteers from various pick-up points in the city. The beach stretch was divided into fifteen zones; each zone was roughly one km wide. As the clock struck six, everyone was in their zone collecting their rubber gloves and bags. There were colour-coded bags provided for biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes: the volunteers not only collected garbage but also segregated it.
As the hours passed, people got busy cleaning, occasionally stopping for a sip of water. At some places even the locals joined in, sharing the problems that they face disposing garbage in their homes.
After three hours of hardwork, 892 garbage bags were loaded in trucks and sent away for safe disposal. A feeling of achievement was very evident in all the individuals who were a part of this effort. The whole event was concluded with a discussion between municipality officials and residents of Chennai; each sharing their problems and recognizing their roles to keep the city clean.
The following is an awareness pamphlet that was distributed
As quoted by Peter, one of the founders of the Chennai Trekking Club, “We shall be victorious! The Chennai Coastline will shine again!”. A very victorious beginning indeed.
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