Chennai: Residents of Chennai city have a responsibility to restore the Cooum and Adyar rivers to the environmental standards that prevailed in the 50s and 60s, said Governor Banwarilal Purohit today.
Inaugurating the ‘Clean Cooum Campaign’ organised by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) he said, according to scientists, upto around 1950, Cooum had 49 species of fish, and by the late 1970s, this had come down to 21 species. At present there are no fish in the river, owing to the toxic pollutants found in the river water, he said.
The Governor said in 90s and the following decades saw much international debate & discussion on water pollution and water conservation. There were initiatives like the National Water Mission and National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) to clean the major rivers in the country.
”Cooum and Adyar were both covered under the National River Conservation Programme and that considerable funds were provided to the Chennai Metropolitan Sewerage Board in the past. While some efforts were undertaken, the inability to arrest the sewage outfalls and the lack of a comprehensive plan to save the river resulted in the pollution levels in the river,” the Governor said.
The 04th Battalion NDRF is now spearheading a campaign to clean the river Cooum at a number of locations along the river covering a length of 13 km. This cleanliness drive will initially take place at Koyambedu, Annanagar Causeway, Annanagar Skywalk, Nungambakkam, Spurtank Road, Albert theatre, Apollo hospital, Chinthadripet and near Napier Bridge.
Around 1,500 volunteers from various government and non-governmental organisations including the Central Industrial Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Greater Chennai Corporation, Nehru Yuvak Kendra, National Cadet Corps and Indian Red Cross have joined hands to make this programme a success. Private institutions and hospitals are also joining in this effort.
The NDRF is planning to carry out the cleaning twice a month for the next 3 to 4 months, so that a significant contribution is made towards reducing the level of pollution in the Cooum river.
The 04th Battalion with jurisdiction for the area comprising Tamilnadu, Kerala, Pondicherry, Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands has its headquarters in Arakkonam.
”Over the years this battalion has played a stellar role in several disaster mitigation efforts. Their rescue operations in Tamilnadu such as during the Chennai Floods of 2015, the Vardha Cyclone of 2016, the Okhi Cyclone of 2017 and the Gaja Cyclone of 2018 have won them the appreciation of the common people. The NDRF has along displayed a high level of professionalism and a strong sense of responsibility and concern for public welfare. The Clean Cooum Campaign launched today is one another effort in this direction,” the Governor said.