Citizens launch initiative to clean River Coonoor in the Nilgiris

Members of the Clean Coonoor citizens’ group removing waste from the highly-polluted Coonoor River using excavator on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Rohan Premkumar

A citizens’ group has come forward to clean the highly-polluted River Coonoor in the Nilgiris, with work beginning on Wednesday to clear more than 800 tonnes of plastic waste, believed to have accumulated along just one km stretch of the river.

The clean-up operation, spearheaded by volunteers from the ‘Clean Coonoor’ citizens’ group, also has the backing of the district administration and the Coonoor Municipality.

District Collector J. Innocent Divya visited the site and assured the volunteers of the district administration’s support for the clean-up operation.

Alongside the Kodappamund Channel that drains into the Ooty Lake, the Coonoor River is one of the most polluted water bodies in the Nilgiris, with garbage being dumped indiscriminately by residents and merchants from the Coonoor Market, as well as sewage lines being directed into the water body playing a role in polluting the river, which drains into the Bhavani Sagar further downstream.

On Wednesday, around 35 volunteers hand-picked plastic waste thrown into the river, and also used excavator to clean out the huge quantity of garbage accumulated along the bed of the river.

P.J. Vasanthan, one of the volunteers, said that around 24 tonnes of mixed waste, including plastics, rags and other garbage embedded in the stream bed were removed using the excavator, while around one tonne of plastic waste was hand-picked from the river by the volunteers.

“The plastic waste had formed a sort of island blocking the free-flow of water. Now that the blockage has been removed, water is flowing more freely,” said Mr. Vasanthan.

The clean-up operation is expected to take anywhere between 15 and 20 days to complete, with the volunteers hoping to completely remove all garbage from the one km stretch of the river, after which they plan to restore parts of the wetland surrounding it, so that the quality of the water too can be improved due to the wetlands functioning as natural water purifiers.

The Coonoor Municipality has also assured volunteers and locals that they would take strict action against people polluting the river.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 2:21:34 PM |

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