Pattinapakkam Beach, Besant Nagar Beach (Ashtalakshmi Temple), Thiruvanmiyur Beach, Palavakkam Beach and Injambakkam Beach as well as Madambakkam Lake, Karasangal Lake, Mudichur Seekana Lake, Nanmangalam Lake and Kazhipattur Lake were included in the drive.
“We had close to 2,000 residents, from across the city, volunteering in their locality. We asked the participants to abandon one plastic item from their lives to reduce the consumption,” said Shanmuganathan, in-charge of the clean-up at the Madambakkam Lake. “This lake is the toughest to clean, since it is a huge waterbody. Once restored, it can be a key water storage unit.”
Across the city’s waterbodies, 9.64 tonnes of non-biodegradable trash was collected. “28% of the trash was glass bottles, mostly alcohol bottles. The second highest quantity was of footwear. On the beaches, balloons and plastic straws were in abundance, while in the lakes, it was domestic waste. The segregated waste was handed over to Greater Chennai Corporation’s contractor Ramky Enviro Engineers, who said that they have the mechanism to recycle glass and other materials. However, when it comes to plastic, only 40% will be recycled, because the rest of the trash is not viable for the process,” said Vignesh Mahesh, a volunteer involved in the clean-up at Besant Nagar Beach.
“We don’t have a fool-proof technology to reduce damage caused by plastic. Most of the current technology – from pyrolysis to waste to energy plant, has a negative impact – which is less damaging when compared to the cost of leaving plastic as garbage. To beat the problem of plastic, as citizens, we must be extremely cautious consumers, trying not to generate fresh trash,” said Arvind Krishnan, in-charge of the Injambakkam stretch. A similar drive was conducted in 17 cities across the country.