Society

Man on a mission: Gratian Mathew Govias has been cleaning up the beach during lockdown

Gratian Mathew Govias cleans up 10 to 15 metres for an hour and a half every day

Gratian Mathew Govias cleans up 10 to 15 metres for an hour and a half every day   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

He hopes to clean up an entire one-and-a-half kilometre stretch of the beach in Muttukadu

At 6 am sharp, Muttukadu resident Gratian Mathew Govias sets out to the beach with a rake in hand. He cleans the trash off beach sand for about 90 minutes, covering 10-15 metres every time.

Gratian has been doing so for the past couple of weeks during lockdown, from June 11 to be precise. “After heavy rains that day, I noticed so much of garbage flowing out of the Muttukadu lake,” recalls the 55-year-old who used to be in the shipping business.

It was a disturbing sight. Gratian saw plastic waste, injections, polystyrene boxes, condoms and slippers, when he decided to clean it all up himself. “There was no point in waiting for someone to come and help,” he says.

Man on a mission: Gratian Mathew Govias has been cleaning up the beach during lockdown

Gratian, who now teaches cycling, took the help of one of his students and his two daughters for the task.

They collect the garbage and take them to the storage point where bins are placed, but it is not simple work. They have to work through weeds, driftwood, undergrowth, and even stray logs from catamarans, says Gratian who posts these updates on his Facebook account. On some days, he has interesting stories to share like when, on June 19, he came across a hut that washed ashore and had to haul it up all by himself.

Gratian hopes to clean up an entire one-and-a-half kilometre stretch of the beach in Muttukadu. “This would take around six months to one year,” he points out.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 10:37:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/man-on-a-mission-gratian-mathew-govias-has-been-cleaning-up-the-beach-during-lockdown/article31932078.ece

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