Hundreds of people, including school and college students, NCC cadets, IT professionals, and defence personnel, joined hands to clean up the beaches at Shanghumughom and Kovalam here on Sunday.

The initiative was organised by the Indian Coast Guard Station, Vizhinjam, and the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Day 2011.

National Service Scheme volunteers from All Saint's College, children from Sainik School, Kazhakuttam, cadets from the NCC Naval wing, employees of UST Global, the KTDC, and UDS Resorts, and personnel of the Indian Air force and the Coast Guard participated in the beach-cleaning drive. A Coast Guard helicopter was deployed on standby for search and rescue to deal with any emergency during the event.

The cleaning operation on the Shanghumughom beach was coordinated by the Coast Guard unit based in Vizhinjam, while that at Kovalam beach was coordinated by the KTDC. About 1,200 kg of garbage was collected from Shanghumughom and 2,000 kg from Kovalam.

Addressing the volunteers, Commandant Athinarayanan, Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Station, Vizhinjam, stressed the need for cleaner coastal areas to ensure the health of marine life.

Alexander Varghese, vice-president, corporate services, UST Global, Prasad Manjali, vice-president, UDS, Kovalam, and C.J. Nair, Tourist Information Officer, spoke.