Downtown

Angels visit Marina every Sunday

Photo: Animaka Chesetty  

“Be the change you want to see.” Members of Angels of Marina firmly believe in this adage. The NGO is working to make Marina beach a clean, green and safe place.

The group gathers every Sunday, when around 80-100 volunteers from different age groups participate in what they call “a fun-filled beach clean-up.”

The initiative was started by Blessing Manikandan, Group CEO of Paulson Beauty and Fashion Private Limited, who instantly fell in love with Marina when he shifted from Coimbatore in 2012.

Eleven college students inspired by Manikandan’s idea joined the team, which was a closed social group. The group transformed into a voluntary organisation in 2014, encouraging individuals to join them in the clean-up activity.

Angels of Marina uses innovative methods such as membership cards, gifts, certificates and entertainment activities to ensure regular participation. Resolute in their efforts to keep the Marina clean, the group has never missed a weekend clean-up since its inception.

The members meet at 6.30 a.m. and the event usually starts with short entertainment programmes like mimicry, Zumba and magic shows. Following this, they start the cleaning drive.

Julie and Robert, a volunteer couple, say, “We came to Chennai six months ago. The beach is the most beautiful part of the city so it is important to keep it clean and preserve it.”

The organisation provides trash bags and gloves to the volunteers, which are collected by the conservancy staff.

Around 300 kg of trash is collected every Sunday. “Covering the stretch from Light House to Gandhi Statue takes about hour-and-a-half. We focus mainly on clearing plastics, paper and cigarette butts from the beach,” states Jiju, the project co-ordinator.

Though the Greater Chennai Corporation is doing its bit to keep the beach clean, Manikandan feels this is not enough. As they are not enough bins along the length of the beach, people litter.

The NGO also holds an awareness programme every Saturday evening, where they address visitors and vendors on the need to keep the beach clean. Manikandan says, “Since 2012, there has been an evident change. Many vendors now provide trash cans for the customers to dispose of the waste. Our members go to different stalls and educate vendors, urging them to keep more dustbins.”

When asked about the future plans, Rajesh, one of the core members, says, “We hope to have at least 2,000 volunteers by 2021, who will support and help us reach our goal.”

The NGO is also looking to collaborate with IEEE, which will provide them with technical aid like trash collectors to clear the garbage from the beach.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 5:05:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/angels-visit-marina-every-sunday/article8541298.ece

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