150 tonnes of garbage left on Marina; the litter on Elliots beach and parks amounts to 100 tonnes

Nearly 150 tonnes of garbage were left behind by visitors to the Marina beach on Monday who came to celebrate ‘Kaanum Pongal.' The litter generated on the Elliots beach and parks in the city on the same day amounted to 100 tonnes.

According to Chennai Corporation officials, the collection of garbage increased to 250 tonnes this year. Last year, about 100 tonnes were collected.

With the litter on the beaches increasing during such festive seasons, environmental activists say sustained efforts must be made to create awareness about the need to keep public places clean.

Since Monday, the Corporation deployed nearly 440 conservancy workers to clean the sands of Marina and Elliots beaches. However, regular beach goers say a lot more needs to be done to keep the coastline clean. Though there is a ban on plastic bags, it is not effectively implemented.

Representatives of the vendors associations on the Marina beach said the membership of the four associations total over 10,000. During festive season, the number of vendors is more. But, every stall has to take responsibility for the waste people throw around their premises, says vendors.

“Every Monday, most vendors are involved in the cleaning of the sands of Marina as per the rules of the associations. But, we need more bins. Awareness also has to be created among visitors not to litter on the beach,” said M.Gajendiran, a vendor selling ‘sundal.'

Representatives of many environmental organisations said that Coastal Clean Up Day and some such rare occasions are when large number of volunteers gather to spruce up the beaches of its waste. Each and every one must be made responsible for the garbage they generate, say activists.

Supraja Dharani of Tree Foundation said “We have been representing to the Corporation to carry out awareness campaigns through public announcement system. Such campaigns are essential, at least before festive season.”

Though the Marina beach has bins, they are inadequate as it attracts a large number of visitors.

Corporation officials say the bins get stolen. Cement bins would be a better option, Ms. Dharani said.

Mayor M. Subramanian, who inspected the cleaning operation that was undertaken using sand cleaning machines and mechanical sweepers on Tuesday, said the civic body would procure 120 stainless steel bins in about two weeks.

Each bin would cost between Rs.10,000 and Rs.12,000.

He estimated the number of people who visited the Marina beach on Monday to be five lakh, while the number would be two lakh on Elliot's beach. Vendors would be asked to place bins near their shops to keep the beaches clean, Corporation officials added.

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