Debris dumped on Neelankarai beach shadows turtle habitat

Activists allege that this has been happening for a while and is destroying the habitat of turtles and their nesting activities.
Debris dumped on Neelankarai beach shadows turtle habitat
The turtle nesting area is only 500 metres away from the place where debris was dumped on Neelankarai beach

Chennai: Tonnes of construction material waste have been dumped on Neelankarai beach and residents and activists claim that workers from a nearby government office disposed of the debris on the beach. Activists allege that this has been happening for a while and is destroying the habitat of turtles and their nesting activities.

“By dumping such waste materials on the seashore, it will be slowly encroached upon. It would not have happened without the knowledge of the city corporation. Even if the debris is disposed of in the non-turtle nesting area, it would affect the environment. Already we have lost the sand which is the reason for the waves hitting the shore. If this continues the situation might worsen in the future and will affect the rainwater recharge,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, an environmental activist.

He added that this has been a problem on almost all the city beaches, where garbage and other wastes are dumped, which is against environmental norms. And the government turns a blind eye to such problems.

The turtle nesting area is only 500 metres away from the place where debris is dumped. It would become difficult for the turtle to dig with their flippers and lay eggs. Eventually, it will affect their natural habitat too.

Dr Supraja Dharini, chairperson of Tree Foundation, which protects marine turtles said that usually turtles deposit 60-150 eggs on the beach, and when it is compacted with such non-natural material they won’t have space to lay eggs and will end up returning to the ocean.

“We’ve spotted such illegal dumping of waste on the seashore before. When the practice continues for several days, it will affect the turtle habitat and there won’t be any nesting on the city beaches,” added Supraja.

A senior official at Sholinganallur Zone when contacted said that they have inspected the spot and assured the construction debris will be cleared.

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