Three hour cleanup of Chennai beaches yield 34 tonnes of inorganic waste

A three-hour clean-up of Chennai beaches by Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) in June yielded 34 tonnes of inorganic waste, which is roughly the weight of 13 female elephants.

Published: 17th September 2017 09:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2017 09:28 AM   |  A+A-

NCC cadets from various colleges clearing plastic waste from the Marina on the occasion of International Coastal Clean-up Day on Saturday | SUNISH P SURENDRAN

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: A three-hour clean-up of Chennai beaches by Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) in June yielded 34 tonnes of inorganic waste, which is roughly the weight of 13 female elephants. If these elephants were to be made out of plastic like the waste, eight of them can be built out of plastic carry bags alone, and one elephant can be made purely from water packets, revealed an audit conducted on a sample of this waste by Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG).

The cleanup of beaches was a part of the breakfree from plastic global movement aimed at highlighting role and accountability of manufacturers responsible for proliferation of single-use plastics ending up in oceans, beaches, and waterways. In Chennai, CTC covered 25 km of coast from Marina to Akkarai Beach on June 18. CAG collected 25 bags of waste samples (about 5% of total waste) from this cleanup and segregated the samples to perform this audit.

“There were a total of 1829 pieces of multilaminate plastics, of which the Lighthouse zone (between Chennai Lighthouse and St. Bedes High School) had the highest number of pieces (702 pieces),” the report said. This litter can cause substantial harm to humans, marine organisms and economy. These plastics pose multiple dangers to humans. Direct toxicity from plastics comes from lead, cadmium, and mercury, according to ‘Plastics in the Ocean Affecting Human Health’a study conducted by Gianna Andrews, Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University in 2012.

According to this study, these toxins were found in many fish in the ocean posing a threat to humans linked to cancers, birth defects, immune system problems and childhood developmental issues. The audit emphasised that the plastics are extremely hard to collect and segregate. “Therefore, there is a strong case to be made for banning the production of such materials. At the very least, we must apply the polluter pays principle on plastic waste and impose EPR rules for their collection and sustainable disposal,” said Satyarupa Shekar, from CAG.

Stay up to date on all the latest Chennai news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.