30 plastic spoons, nylon rope, 4 torn chappals and more! – Preeti Aghalayam

Chennai Coastal Cleanup booty: ­30 plastic spoons, nylon rope, 4 torn chappals and more!

My daughter and I chose the Marina Light House location, along with a few children from her school. We are not newbies to clean­ups, having participated in various such activities in and around Kotturpuram, including the Chitranagar and Suryanagar slums. But the challenge of the beach is that things are buried deep in the sand and it’s tougher to dig out the trash!

In the middle of our activity we had these memorable moments… Mr Dhanraj who, as far as we could tell, lives on the beach, suddenly joined us and dug up plastic and paper (which is what we were collecting) alongside us. He was indefatigable and we felt confident that we left behind at least one beach ­dweller who would think twice about tossing that water packet onto the forgiving sand. The small children that were part of our group were enthralled by the conches and shells we found. ‘They belong to the beach, my dear’ their mother said, and they reluctantly put it back after placing them to their ear and listening for a bit. They were truly beautiful shells with such intricate designs..­ really amazing what that treasures Mother Nature throws towards us!

Meanwhile, what we throw towards here are ­ plastic spoons (about ­30 in number); yards and yards of nylon rope (from the fishing nets); water, gutka, chips packets; torn chappals (2 pairs); alcohol bottles (several); tomato garlic ketchup packet (1); torn papers (countless); and thermocol. We collected a couple of bags worth of trash. We read through the helpful rules published by the ever wonderful Chennai Trekking Club, and made sure we segregated carefully.

We hope our bags go to the recycling plant and not the landfill. We hope Mr. Dhanraj has friends he will talk to tonight about not trashing the beach. We hope that plastic spoons are banned soon, & forever. We came home exhausted, only stopping briefly to request a gentleman to not fling his gutka packet on the road (he was apologetic, and obligingly picked it back up), and to drink a tender coconut (no straws for us, please!)

(This experience is captured under the ‘Volunteer Social Experience Talk’ series covered by Citizen Matters Chennai)

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