Chennai Lake clean ups!
Rain rain go away, come again another day!
The Chennai people are used to this rhyming phrase from November 2015. Where there had been a time in the city, when rain was considered to be a romantic affair, the Chennai rains last year has run a terror in the spines of the common people that they just wish it stops soon, even when it was a relief for them last week from the boiling heat of the sun. What was left of the rain was the clear understanding that the natural habitats in the city have to be restored. Well, it just narrows down to the lakes, which was once the reason for the formation of the Madras presidency. We have heard in history books that the water body becomes the reason for the formation of civilisation. So formed the civilisation, the urbane one that was/is destroying the city, every way it can.
Following the infamously called #ChennaiRains, many NGOs started showing up in different ways to help the city and one among them is Environmental Foundation of India, shortly called EFI. Their mission in Face book goes like this, “Getting responsible Indians to care for Indian Wildlife”. The description among many that cached my interest was the third one, “Lake conservations”. Lakes are one among the various natural resources, that forms/formed the base of this city Chennai, the then Madras. Puzhal lake and the Chengalpattu lake are still the two important water resources of the population.
So, how does this go on? The lake clean ups? Well, first of all these lakes, that were/are misused are not perennial. They get filled only during monsoon and that last year, the continuous rains helped the lakes find themselves and that is how the so called the worst flood of the Chennai’s lifetime since 200 years happened. Many lakes now proudly holds the banners of big real estate giants, canvassed by the God-knows-great stars of the cine industry, showcasing the really tall buildings of almost 20 to 30 floors. Coming back to clean ups, the EFI has volunteered to clean 7 lakes, 4 in Chennai, and one in Hyderabad, Trivandrum and Srinagar respectively and a beach in Trivandrum.
Since I am a Chennai lover and that I have lived closer to two clean ups there, I wish to say about one of them, Adambakkam lake clean up. Well, the lake is hardly there I would say. There are areas, which clearly show that the lake has been hijacked a long time before. The houses and a cement plant, exactly on the level of the lake clearly tells you the story. Okay, let us concentrate on the remaining part, the place where clean up is taking place since January 23rd 2016. The voluntary work by EFI, in collaboration with the common public of the place (Here, the Adambakkam people), some organisations like Chennai Trekking club and also by joining hands with some corporate giants through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), involves cleaning the lake every Wednesday from morning 6.00 AM to 8.00 AM. The latest was scheduled on May 18th, which got cancelled due to the rain in that area.
As I have the habit of walking everyday! Okay, that’s a lie. I walk every now and then, crossing this lake. And I could see the difference between the lake that was there before this short rain and after this short rain.
Lake before the sudden rain!
I know that the clean ups were going on. But, I did not want to involve myself. Because, I can see people using the lake as their toilets, their dust bins and a chit- chatting ground too. I would say that the society around the lake has formed this as their tradition and as the proverb goes as “Old habits die hard”, I cannot complain this people of doing so. Where were the government and the local authorities when it all started? No answer. Between all this, I should appreciate the volunteers, who have risked their health in cleaning the lake. A part of the lake looks good. But the people are still misusing it.
|New buildings in the lake|
|The canal to the lake|
Lake after the sudden rain!
After the 3 day rain this May (which made every citizen of the city nervous), the Adambakkam lake managed itself to gather some water. I wish I never saw, but then the habit (not exactly) of walking around that place, made me see the same people using the water for bathing and other simple chores. The place was as dirty as hell and as I knew what the people were doing before in that place, I couldn’t stop but pity the volunteers who were risking their immune system for the welfare of the city.
I don’t really have the right to criticize the good works done by the volunteering organisations. I do not participate in helping them as of now. But, as a third person looking from a distance, I can suggest them to give a detailed input to the public around the lakes, about what they are really going to do and how it is going to benefit the local people ecologically and what they expect from them in return. This would do I guess. No human can go beyond certain limit in spoiling the good works, when they know that it’s going to benefit them someway. This would also help them gather more people, the uneducated ones, who really needs change in their lives.