The Olive Ridley season is in full swing and reports have already emerged stating that the number of their deaths has gone down while the number of juveniles has increased. However, plastic waste on the beach can be a choking hazard for these nesting mothers.
According to Darwin Annadurai, founder and MD of Eco Society Alliance, their beach clean-ups usually yield nearly 1.7 tonnes of waste. “Single-use plastic continues to be a menace, despite the state-wide ban. Not only beach-goers but also vendors are a cause for waste accumulation. However, over the past few months, many more people have volunteered to clean-up the beaches,” he said.
This sentiment is a result of many citizens associating their beaches with a local sense of pride. Another reason for the increased interest in beach clean-ups is due to Chennai’s rising status as a travel destination due to its coastline.
Carrying forward this love for the city is a group of youngsters from five schools across the city. RecyclePro, a non-profit run by Class 11 students, held plogging events to promote waste collection in the public conscience.
“Youngsters like Greta Thunberg are leading the change all over the world. We need to fix the wrongs of the previous generation. We hope that people see us youngsters working so hard and try to take care of their surroundings better,” said Shiv Chhabria, founder.
Plogging is a recent trend in beach clean-ups, as a move to merge fitness trends and environmental protection into one.
The main issue that these individuals face is apathy, from both locals as well as the floating population that visit the beaches. “Some residents still refuse to follow basic garbage disposal rules, especially at public spaces. Visitors from outside the State also are not aware of the waste disposal facilities available in the city,” said Annadurai.
However, physical clean-ups are not sustainable on their own. Chhabria and Annadurai agreed that more awareness must be spread on keeping beaches clean and conduct awareness programmes and camps through their respective organisations.