An initiative to save the water bodies in Chennai, says Liffy Thomas

Once upon a time the Cooum River was a fresh water source. The waterway was then called the Thames of South India. “Your forefathers drank from it …,” said Biology teacher Sophia Lawrence to a row of class IV students waiting to get a glimpse of some exhibits on the Cooum. But, how is the Cooum now? “It is like drainage,” pat came a reply from a boy of M.CT.M Chidambaram Chettiar Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Mylapore. So, who is responsible for its current state, asked the teacher. “We… people,” came a unanimous reply. To which Ms. Lawrence added, “It’s we who have to keep our water sources clean.”

This is a message hundreds of school students should be carrying home as part of the Madras Week celebrations happening in the city. ‘Clean Adyar, Clean Coovum, Solve Madras’s water problem,’ a travel exhibition organised by C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, is visiting close to 200 institutions in the city until the end of the month.

A total of 14 panels, both in English and Tamil, talking about the origin of the Cooum, its reach and use are being presented. Photographs of Cooum running near Nepiar bridge, Egmore or how the mouth of the cooum looked are among those displayed

From rivers, the panels move to major bridges on the Adyar river and on to ways of conserving water at home. “We hope children, after going through the exhibit, will discuss it at home and try to make a difference,” said Nanditha Krishna, director of the Centre.

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