TIRUPPUR: Though notice boards are installed near waterbodies to caution public, they have done little to prevent drowning. Sensitisation and knowledge on use of life jackets can help save lives, say activists and experts.
This comes after six people drowned in the Amaravathi river in Dharapuram on Monday evening. According to sources, 20 people have drowned in the Amaravathi river and 27 persons drowned in the PAP canal in Tiruppur in the past two years. In these cases, the victims didn’t know how to swim and most were aged under 20.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, activist KVS Manikumar said, "Fencing along water bodies will not help. Individuals drive to another part of the canal and bath. If fencing cannot resolve the issue, how will warning boards help? Instead, if people can be saved if they have life jackets. Most life jackets cost over Rs 1,000 rupees, but some inflatable swim vests cost just a few 100 rupees."
Tiruppur District Childline - coordinator N Kadirvel explains, "If a teenager is taking a bike for a ride, instead of trying to stop it, parents could just ask him to wear a helmet. Similarly, as a precaution, parents can buy a life jacket for youngsters who go to water bodies."
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Tiruppur District Fire Safety Officer Kangeya Bhoopathy said, "Every year, several persons drown in the PAP canal, Amaravathi river and local ponds. Life jackets are the safest option." Life jackets and sensitisation must be taken up by higher authorities in Chennai.