A signature campaign and a clean-up trip to save the beautiful streams and waterfalls in Tada

The crackle of a beer bottle hit against a rock; the rustle of plastic covers buffeted about by the wind — these are the sounds of a place gone to seed. We are near what is popularly known as the Tada waterfalls, part of the northern tip of the 30-km-long Nagalapuram hills.

Located a little over 80 km north of Chennai, Tada is a non-descript town on the National Highway; the beautiful mountain range with beautiful streams, conveniently called Tada, actually lies about seven km beyond this town. This pretty spot attracts tourists and weekend revellers; not all of them are in their best behaviour.

“Drunken gangs are known to harass tourists, especially women. There have been numerous instances where they’ve broken into cars and stolen valuables,” says Peter Van Geit, the founding member of a 4,000-plus trekking group called Chennai Trekking Club ( www.chennaitrekkers.org).

Even peace-loving tourists contribute to the problem. Before they return home, they leave behind mementoes of their visit — plastics and other wastes.

Unwanted gifts

These unwanted gifts only succeed in marring Tada’s most charming feature — crystal-clear streams. The locals call them ubbulu madugu (Telugu for ‘boiling rivulets’), because they issue forth from tiny perennial springs and resemble bubbles in boiling milk.

So clear are these streams that it is possible to see its bed, full of big, well-formed pebbles.

When shafts of sunlight escape the trees standing on the rocky flanks of these streams and hit the water, the pebbles give forth an alluring sparkle.

“It is this beauty we are trying to preserve. These beautiful steams are becoming as a dump yard of plastics and broken liquor bottles,” says Geit, whose group spearheads efforts to save Tada.

On November 1, the group is making a trip to clean up the Tada waterfalls. For details, visit http://groups.google.co.in/group/sachennaitrekkingclub/web/save-tada-nov-1-2009

As authorities’ help in restoring Tada will be invaluable, CTC is also running a signature campaign — http://www.petitiononline.com/savetada/petition.html