One hundred turtles made of sand. We’re not kidding. That’s what you’ll see if head to Marina Beach this Sunday. The initiative designed as a sand sculpting competition themed on turtles and the seashore is being put together by Ezone, a training organisation for corporates, as part of their ‘Save The Turtle’ project. And with 500 youngsters split into 100 teams already registered since the announcement on social media two weeks ago, the response has been massive.
In its second edition, Hafiz Khan, the man behind the idea says, “We hope to raise as much awareness about Olive Ridleys as possible through this event. This nesting season (January to April) is when you see the most injuries, strandings and deaths on the seashore because of fishermen’s nets.” This is why, as a part of the effort, volunteers will be distributing 65 Turtle Excluder Devices to fishermen, which allow sea turtles to escape if caught in the net.
With a memorable 50-foot turtle created in the sands last year as well as scenes like angels guarding over Chennai’s turtles, organisers seem quite excited about how this year’s event will turn out. Interestingly, one of the members of the team, Mohammed Sulaiman shares, “As we’ve been promoting the event quite a bit in schools, there are several mom’s groups that signed up as well - which is a change from the usual crowd of youngsters and activists at these events.”
Perhaps the only drawback is that it will be held between 1pm and 3pm — when the day is at its hottest. “We hope to reach the evening crowds who would start coming to the beach around 4-5pm. So yes, you will probably be sporting a new tan by the end of it, but it’ll be totally worth it!” laughs Hafiz.