Delay in commissioning eco-restoration project has led to high pollution levels in the area; tidal action also contributes to condition

Stretches of Chennai’s beaches and the sand bed near the Adyar estuary are littered with plastic, rubble and other junk.

Eight months ago, sanction was given to implement phase II of an eco-restoration project across 300 acres of the Adyar estuary and creek at a cost of Rs. 24.93 crore. But work is yet to begin.

Because of the delay in commissioning the project over the past few years, pollution levels continue to be high in the area. Plastics and inert materials constitute a chunk of the waste in the area.

Visitors to the beach in the area are forced to sit in the midst of garbage.

The Chennai Corporation is clearing garbage in the beach area between Labour Statue and Light House. The public works department had handed over the stretch to the Corporation for maintenance. But the beach areas beyond Light House towards Adyar continue to remain polluted. Mosquito breeding sources too, are found in some localities.

The first phase of the restoration project, constituting 58 acres involved the cleaning, restoration and planting of 1.36 lakh saplings of various species. Experts associated with the second phase said the project would mainly involve water body restoration but land area would also be restored. Other initiatives in the second phase will include habitat restoration, monitoring pathways, sanitation, solid waste management and measures to enhance tidal influx in the Adyar estuary and creek.

The third phase of cleaning is to cover the entire banks of the Adyar River. The proposal to restore the area includes cleaning of the sands. According to the tender document, the cleaned sand “shall be hard, durable, clean and free from adherent coatings and organic matter and shall not contain more than permissible limit of clay balls or pellets.”

The Chennai River RestorationTrust is yet to get CRZ (coastal regulation zone) clearance for the project, which is expected to delay the commencement of the work on cleaning the sands.

The Chennai Corporation is planning to install additional bins to curb dumping of debris and garbage in the Adyar Creek. Tidal action in the area has also been causing accumulation of garbage dumped in the sea. 

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