Rage against plastic

Photographer and entrepreneur Praveen Muraleedharan’s images are terrifying. The dark side of the plastic menace and its victims are his subject
For representational purpose
For representational purpose

KOCHI: When climate change causes destruction around the globe, do we still have to wait for a solution?  This hard-hitting question is the theme of Praveen Muraleedharan’s images. The Kochi-based ecotourism entrepreneur and photographer’s series titled Plastic Pollution was recently on display at Alliance Francaise De Trivandrum and speaks volumes about how single-use plastics have engulfed our natural habitat.

One of the endemic species, a lion-tailed macaque trying to chew the mouth of a plastic bottle; a horrific scene he captured around a decade ago from the deep forests of Nelliyampathy hills; a dead puffer fish strangled in the ghost nets abandoned by fishermen and washed ashore at the Poovar beach; Malabar Whistled checking the plastic trash at Athirappilly falls for food; a cow feeding on the plastic garbage at Valparai in Tamil Nadu — each image his lens captured narrates a horrific tale — the aftermath of the man-made garbage crisis across the planet. 

“These are real images I witnessed inside the forests,” says the youngster, who has been into photography for more than 20 years.

The haunting image of the lion-tailed macaque with a plastic bottle was an image he captured a decade ago during one of his forest trails, and it shook him. Sionce then, he has been at it, recording the nightmare that is plastic waste. 

“Single-use plastics are threatening every habitat and my photographs are a campaign to address it. At least some people will take a moment to think and change,” says Praveen. He mainly travels around the Western Ghats to record the terrifying scenes. 

The first series of Praveen’s works were showcased in France in 2021. The present series with 20 portraits are a continuation of his solo photo campaign, Plastic Pollution. 

Praveen says he is trying to find out who should be blamed for the plastic mess. “On every October 2, we perform a cleaning campaign. But why just do it for a day? And almost in every cleaning drive, the garbage is taken from one place and dumped in another. Is that a solution to this plastic pollution?” he asks.

“I think we do not have a proper working waste management system in our society. Issuing fines will not stop the plastic menace. Humans are less concerned about alternatives, and how to wisely recycle plastic, and lack awareness about how they affect wildlife and marine lives by littering their habitats. And we are unaware of how this litter can threaten our existence in the end.”

The young nature lover has previously collaborated with Malayalam musicians such as Saju Sreenivas and French musician Jo Ziako for an album titled ‘La Boheme’. The 2020 project talks about nature conservation. 

Praveen says he will be weaving more such nature conservation projects through music in the coming days. Apart from speaking about plastic pollution through his lens, Praveen is also supporting sustainable tourism through his ventures, Nectar Experience and Eco Ventures. 

“Eliminating plastic bottles from restaurants and resorts in a tourism destination does not mean it is an eco-friendly spot. Rather selecting the property to build a resort to make provisions for tourism by ensuring the safety of other living organisms, including animals and the local community, completes the idea of eco-tourism. In our ventures, local communities are employed and tourists are made to experience the real essence of nature,” he concludes.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express