Over seven tonnes of garbage left by pilgrims removed from Vellingiri hills, cleaning continues

Updated - June 11, 2024 12:54 am IST

Published - June 10, 2024 06:47 pm IST - COIMBATORE

Volunteers clearing waste littered by pilgrims along the trekking route on the Vellingiri hills near Coimbatore.

Volunteers clearing waste littered by pilgrims along the trekking route on the Vellingiri hills near Coimbatore. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Volunteers have removed more than seven tonnes of waste materials, mainly clothes, discarded by pilgrims on the Vellingiri hills near Coimbatore.

The cleaning drive started after the three-month-long pilgrimage season ended on May 31. Forest Department officials said the cleaning had not been completed as volunteers could not trek the hills and carry out the drive during rain.

Boluvampatti forest range officer T. Suseendranath said waste from the first three hills and the last two hills, namely sixth and seventh, had been removed. Cleaning on the fourth and fifth hills was yet to be carried out.

“The volunteers could not carry out the cleaning on the hills for some days due to rain. It is difficult for them to collect the waste and return through the steep and slippery terrain. Also, discarded clothes cannot be carried when they are drenched in rain,” Mr. Suseendranath said.

The sixth hill has the bulk of discarded clothes. Though it is a non-customary practice, a large section of pilgrims dump their old clothes after taking bath at a stream called ‘Andisunai’ at the sixth hill, before taking the final trek to the summit at the seventh hill where Lord Shiva is worshipped.

Though the Department had screened pilgrims near the Vellingiri Andavar temple at Poondi to prevent them from taking plastic materials to the hills, dumping of plastic waste has also been reported.

The 6.5 km-long trekking route is passing through reserve forest area of the Boluvampatti forest range that is home to rare flora and fauna.

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