Citizens launch campaign to clean river Coonoor

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UDHAGAMANDALAM: City-based local citizens’ group started a campaign ‘Clean Coonoor’ to clean the highly-polluted river Coonoor in the Nilgiris.

The campaign began on Wednesday, June 5, with the collaboration of district administration and the Coonoor Municipality. Around 35 volunteers participated and revealed that they cleaned more than 800 tonnes of plastic waste from just one km stretch of the river using excavators.

J Innocent Divya, District Collector visited the campaign site and promised the volunteers to provide the support of district administration to run the campaign successfully. Volunteers also spread awareness message to the local residents and local merchants for not dumping garbage, chemical waste and medical waste in the river. One of the representatives informed that the district administration official about the Kodappamund Channel that drains into the Ooty Lake directly transferred its polluted water into the water bodies that are polluting the rivers.

P J Vasanthan, one of the volunteers said, “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, he added.

It is expected that the campaign will be completed within 20 days. The volunteers believe to remove and clean all the garbage from the river. To improve the quality of water volunteers are planning to fix a natural water purifier to restore parts of the wetland surrounding it. The Coonoor Municipality has decided to take serious action against people polluting the river.

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