Don’t cry for me, Chennai


The Cooum 'flows' past Egmore. Pic: Mohan Kumar Karunakaran

Once there was a river. Rather, there were many rivers. And then there were none.

In the run up to Arappor Iyakkam’s Sakkadai Thiruvizha, a citizen awareness program to highlight the problem of sewage being let into Chennai’s water bodies, two young photographers — Raghavan Lokesh and Mohan Kumar Karunakaran — volunteered to travel along Chennai’s rivers, and capture images for our readers.

The pictures are heart breaking. Let us take a minute to view, and mull over, what we have done to the lifelines of this city.

Rusting pipes belch out untreated sewage into the Kosasthalaiyar. Pic: Mohan Kumar Karunakaran
Sewage flows into the Adyar river at Ramapuram. Pic: Mohan Kumar Karunakaran
Sewage flowing into the Kosasthalaiyar. Pic: Raghavan Lokesh
The Buckingham Canal at Vyasarpadi. Pic: Raghavan Lokesh
A view of the Buckingham canal at Kodungaiyur. Pic: Raghavan Lokesh
Birds fly over the Kosasthalaiyar in valiant bid to find something alive in the waters. Pic: Raghavan Lokesh
Cattle grazing on the bed of what is left of the Adyar river, behind MIOT Hospital. Pic: Raghavan Lokesh
Sludge floating on the stagnant waters of the Adyar river at Ramapuram. Pic: Raghavan Lokesh
Sewage flows into the sea at Thiruvottiyur beach. Pic: Mohan Kumar Karunakaran
Another shot of the Buckingham Canal at Kodungaiyur. Pic: Mohan Kumar Karunakaran
Slums on the banks of the Cooum in Egmore. Pic: Raghavan Lokesh
Where is the Adyar river? Pic: Raghavan Lokesh
Broken pipes, carrying untreated sewage to the sea at Thiruvottiyur. Pic: Mohan Kumar Karunakaran

[Raghavan Lokesh is an entrepreneur and has been volunteering with Arappor Iyakkam since 2017. Mohan Kumar Karunakaran works with Royal Bank of Scotland. Moved by the state of a water body in his neighbourhood, he has been volunteering with Arappor Iyakkam over the last few months, seeking to impact the city in a positive way.]

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