On Sunday mornings, the city’s beaches are usually overrun with fitness enthusiasts and youngsters playing various sports.
But last Sunday, an army of volunteers descended on the beaches with a singular purpose — clean up the debris strewn across the coastline.
The massive clean-up campaign, organised by Chennai Trekking Club in association with The Hindu , saw more than 6,500 volunteers from schools, colleges, private companies and NGOs participating to show their concern for the environment and keep the beaches clean.
Volunteers, comprising young children, teenagers and senior citizens, armed with gloves and large garbage bags collected bottles, plastic and other waste materials.
Peter Van Geit, founder of Chennai Trekking Club, said the beach clean-up campaign this year was carried out all the way from Marina beach to Panaiyur.
In addition, a marathon and lake restoration were organised in four places.
Giving a holistic approach to the garbage problem affecting the beaches, Mr. Van Geit said the club had roped in Chennai Dive Club for deep-sea cleaning and Earth Recycler for segregating garbage.
“Our goal is to not just collect garbage from one place and deposit it in the dumping yard, but to segregate to the maximum, which is 80 per cent,” he said.
The club has broken records in garbage collection every year. This year, the total debris collected stands at 50 tonnes. Last year, 36 tonnes were collected.
Devan Gandhi, a six-year-old volunteer from Nanganallur, who came with his parents, said, “The Marina is one of the longest beaches in the world, and it is the responsibility of the citizens to prevent our beaches from becoming dumping yards.”
Mayor Saidai Duraisamy inaugurated the clean-up campaign at Elliot’s Beach.