The young fisherman in Chennai saw the photo of a dead shark, washed up in Kovalam, with plastics in it’s gut. And this changed everything.
We often read of tragic instances when sharks and whales have washed ashore, and a post-mortem carried out on them, reveals inordinate amounts of plastic in their stomachs. All around the world the oceans are becoming clogged due to the continuous irresponsible disposal of non-biodegradable waste.
On Kovalam beach, a shark washed up ashore, and a post-mortem revealed almost 50 kgs of plastics lodged in its guts. A photo of this was enough to move K. Vinod, a young fisherman, to action.
He, along with a few friends conceptualised a movement to clean up the coast. The scientist who showed the shark’s picture to K. Vinod also added that the plastic waste in the ocean was affecting the fishermen’s catch as well.
K. Vinod says to The Hindu ““We were aghast. And we decided we need to do something about it ourselves.”
Campaigning under the banner of Chennai Tiruvallur District Progressive Fishermen Association, he and his friends have mobilised around 300 youngsters to clean up the shores and fishing hamlets in the fishing villages of north Chennai every weekend.
So far, the team has removed 2 tonnes of plastic and thermocol, 5000 bottles and 1 tonne of old plastic-wired fishing nets.
A film-maker, G.Mohan says to The Hindu “Apart from the waste disposed of by fishermen including thermocol waste from ice boxes, plastics that clog stormwater drains and other waterways also find their way into the sea and estuaries. When river mouths are clogged, fish breeding comes down.”
In June, last year, the Chennai Trekking Club hosted the Chennai Coastal Cleanup, an initiative to clear a 20-km coastline.
K. Vinod and his team are cleaning up the beach, and are planning to organise a 10 k.m marathon along the shoreline on the Ennore Expressway. Those willing to participate can call 9940444007 to register.