The cleaning up of 500-meter stretch of the upper stream of the Coonoor River ended recently with more than 5,000 tonnes of waste and sediment being removed from the water body.
Known as the Hancoonthorai Stream, the clean-up operation, undertaken by the NGO, Clean Coonoor, was initiated to mark World Rivers Day.
P. J. Vasanthan, trustee of Clean Coonoor, said that photographs of the river before it was encroached upon over the last few 50 years, showed that the banks of the stream were very steep and very wide, with the stream course being reduced to a fraction of its original width due to encroachments and the dumping of waste.
“As the construction boom continued, residents of Coonoor, who constructed new buildings, began dumping excavated earth and rubble into the river, forming a very deep sediment that hindered the free flow of water and made the Hancoonthorai stream prone to flooding,” said Mr. Vasanthan.
The clean-up operation, which cost around ₹ 12 lakh, raised through private subscriptions, led to more than 5,000 tonnes of waste and sediment being removed from the stream. Most of the sand has been taken to the landfill in Coonoor, where it will be used for landscaping purposes.
“We also plan to meet the relevant authorities and try to get a mechanism functioning that will allow us to properly dispose of construction waste and material, as otherwise, the dumping of debris into the stream will continue unabated,” said Samantha Iyanna, Managing Trustee of Clean Coonoor.