CHENNAI: Residents of Urur Olcott Kuppam, Besant Nagar, volunteers of Reclaim Our Beaches and staff of private conservancy agency Neel Metal Fanalca, collected 20 tonnes of garbage from the fishing hamlets and the beach nearby in a cleaning operation on Tuesday.
Nivedha, a student of Standard V, said it was nice to see so many persons join hands to clean the beach. “My mother does not throw garbage on the beach. There is a bin near our house, which she uses,” she said.
Garbage, including plastic carrybags, coconut thatches, dry fish, old clothes, slippers and tyres, were removed. NMF employee G. Mani said that on most days even faecal matter was found in the garbage making their jobs difficult. “Many residents just fling garbage on the shore sands … not bothering to use the dust-bins. This results in the garbage falling on the grey water making it heavy and the area even more dirty,” he said.
Homemaker Valarmathi said many children in the area fell sick owing to grey water stagnating on the beach. “Our children have nowhere else to go and play on the dirty sands. We have an unimaginable mosquito problem,” she said. Many women said that residents of interior roads dumped garbage on the beach as there were no bins in those areas.
Another homemaker Deivam Chinnayya, whose house is situated along the beach, said that there were no streetlights or water taps on her street. “We get saline water in the bore pumps.”
Environmental activist Nithyanand Jayaraman said the Chennai Metrowater had not provided sewage connections to the residents of the kuppam. “Every year many people here fall sick. The stagnating grey water leads to breeding of mosquitoes. It is also a huge hygiene problem for the children who play here.”