The Thamirabarani is a perennial river that flows through districts of Tamil Nadu and into the Gulf of Mannar. It is also the only perennial river of South India and is the only river in the country to flow in a Northernly direction – though it does change it’s direction eventually.
The river provides a large percentage of water for irrigation and power generation. However, the mixing of untreated sewer, industrial effluents, dumping etc. have reduced its water quality.
Add to that religious practices like letting off clothes in the river after taking a bath to wash sins. It should be no surprise that the river is severely clogged and has increasing bacteria levels.
It is no wonder then that a cleaning drive on the river was organised on Saturday.
According the The Times of India, about 10,000 students from 30 colleges and 20 schools participated in the drive.
Also, some 5,000 people including teachers, members of revenue employees association, police and fire service personnel besides employees of various other departments participated.
This cleaning drive was meant to take place in two phases. The first phase on Saturday involved cleaning up the riverbed from Karuppanthurai to Vannarpettai. The second phase, which is yet to happen, will involve cleaning up a much larger area compared to the first.
According to TOI, Tirunelveli collector, Sandeep Nanduri, inaugurated the drive near the collector’s office. Both the banks of the river – 60 kilometres on each bank from Pabanasam to Tirunelveli four-way bridge – were cleaned on Saturday.