Polluted stretches of the coastal belt between Pulicat and Kanyakumari, including major tourist destinations along the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast will be cleaned on September 3 as part of the International Coastal Clean-up Day.

Addressing presspersons here on Tuesday, Rear Admiral (retired) K. R. Srinivasan, vice-president of the Indian Maritime Foundation, Chennai branch, said that more than 3,500 volunteers and 10,000 supporting people would be part of the programme that would cover 300 km of the coast. This year's programme would also include cleaning the banks of the Adyar and Cooum rivers within the city limits.

“Last year, over 12,000 people collected 48 tonnes of marine debris. This year we expect 70 tonnes,” he said. The annual event, organised under the aegis of the Indian Maritime Foundation and Ocean Conservancy, aims at promoting awareness of the need to protect coastal environment and resources. Besides spreading awareness about the coastal heritage among students and residents of coastal areas, the event would help in identifying ways to dispose of waste by sharing details of the clean-up with the civic authorities.

“Garbage has come down in certain blocks. People have learnt the danger of plastics,” Mr.Srinivasan said, while underscoring the need for recycling of garbage at the block level and development of a low cost model.

The coast had been divided into blocks extending to 8 to 12 km for the clean-up. Each of the 30 block coordinators would mobilise around 120 volunteers who would educate people as they collect garbage or debris on September 3.

Data on the composition of trash would be compiled and sent to civic authorities concerned to facilitate remedial measures. Safety and hygiene of participants are of paramount importance to the event. The bags to be used for collecting the trash would be bio-degradable. Those interested in enrolling as volunteers, could email to indmarfcb@gmail.com. or indmarfdn@eth.net, he said.