Fish for All Research and Training Centre of M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in collaboration with National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), Chennai, Ministry of Earth Science, organized International Coastal Clean-up day campaign – Clean Seas! Our Pride! – for the last one week period covering three beaches in three coastal districts of Tamil Nadu covered Samiyarpettai beach in Cuddalore district (20th September 2021) Poompuhar beach in Mayiladuthurai district on 22nd September and Rameswaram Sangumal beach in Rameswaram on 24 September 2021.
The main purpose of the programme is to raise awareness among beach visitors, fishing communities, other coastal stakeholders, and the general public on the ill effects of beach litter on the marine environment and to generate baseline data on marine debris for understanding the abundance, distribution and composition of plastics on the beach for better planning.
A total of 223 volunteers participated from three districts in the clean-up of all the three beaches. The participants collected debris for a distance of about 3 km covered in all three beaches. The total debris from all the beaches amounting to about 4.5 tons comprised of plastic bags, bottles and cups (750 kg), glass bottles (789 kg), cloths (156 kg) fishing ropes (332 kg), boat discards such thermocol and nets (247 kg), foot wear (133 kg) and others (1613 kg). The segregated debris was handed over to the municipality in each location for proper disposal.
College students from Centre of Advanced study in Marine Biology, Annamalai University, Poompuhar Government Arts college, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Government Arts and Science college and Alagappa Evening College from Rameswaram; School students from Government Higher Secondary School, Samiyarpettai were the volunteers of the campaign. More than 16 community level institutions and government organizations and groups were participated in the event and supported for its successful conduction in all three beaches. Fishermen from all three villages were who also involved themselves in volunteering at the Clean sea drive.
Dr S. Velvizhi, principal scientist and the chief coordinator of the campaign from MSSRF participated in the programmes and created awareness on the ill effects of plastics in marine environment and mechanism to control it for maintaining the pollution free eco-friendly beaches. MSSRF team members Mr Elango, Ms Priyangha, Mr Selvarasu, Mr Tamil and Mr Saravanakumar, Mr Saravanan, Mr Kevikumar, Mr Salam from Cuddalore, Poompuhar and Rameswaram field sites were actively engaged in the campaign and made all the field arrangements