Hundreds gather at Spencer Plaza to create awareness about conservation of power

7 p.m., the atrium in the third phase of Spencer Plaza was buzzing with activity. Huge posters that read ‘60+ Earth Hour' accompanied by the friendly panda — the symbol of the World Wildlife Fund — welcomed students from Velammal Vidyalaya school and National Cadet Corps members from various city colleges.

Visitors to the mall hung around the balconies curious to figure out what the buzz was about. WWF-India's objective to create awareness was succeeding. “We chose the mall because it is a central place that attracts lots of people. This way we can create awareness about energy conservation,” said S. Saravanan, Senior Education Officer, WWF-India.

Awaiting the ‘Earth Hour' at 8.30 p.m., the students entertained the crowds with singing, dancing and speeches, and, of course, a solo dance performance to actor Dhanush's ‘Why this Kolaveri di?' song. This dedication was apt since earlier this week, Dhanush joined hands with WWF-India to support Earth Hour 2012.

At a press conference held earlier this week, Dhanush, the face of Earth Hour in Chennai said: “Earlier I watched movies on a projector at home, but after I was told that it consumes a lot of power, I stopped using it and switched to watching movies on television. That was my way of making a small beginning.”

Speaking at the gathering at Spencer Plaza, N. Krishnasami, superintending engineering (Central Chennai), TANGEDCO, advised participants to save energy due to the mounting power shortage in the city. “Due to the acute power shortage, we should all conserve energy by switching off lights and fans when not required and start using star-rated appliances,” he said. “This will not only reduce the electricity bill but will save us from critical power shortage.”

At half past eight, when the Earth Hour began, participants lit candles to welcome the forced power shutdown, as a symbol of the city's support to conserve energy and took a pledge to save the earth. Several shopkeepers also switched off the lights for 15 minutes to support the cause. “Taj Coromandel and Savera hotels have switched to candlelight dinners, Cognizant is observing the Earth Hour and so are residential areas in parts of Aynavaram and Thiruvanmiyur,” said Mr. Saravanan.

Chennai joined five other mega cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore — in the race to become the Earth Hour Champion. Whichever city receives maximum participation from its citizens, organisations, institutions and government will be declared the champion. Earlier this week, Aaarti Khosla, head, Earth Hour campaign, India had said that the assessment will be based not just on quantitative, but also qualitative factors. “An objective jury comprising of members from the media, NGOs, civil society representatives, corporate sector and the WWF will be set up and the results will be announced a week after the campaign is over.”

How well Chennai fared, we will have to wait and watch.

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Asha SridharJune 28, 2012

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