The word ‘Shramdaan’ means a voluntary contribution involving physical effort. It is a way of helping the community and contributing to help and change the environment around for the better.
Such an exercise focussing on the removal of plastic waste strewn along a stretch of railway line between Coonoor Station and Kateri, was undertaken today. The participants numbering around forty, were railway employees, their families, and volunteers of Clean Coonoor, who between them picked up around 300 kgs of plastic litter.
This two and half kilometre stretch which starts from the town and runs through the Coonoor ravine can be said to be the most enchanting among all other bits and pieces along this heritage line. Here far below on the left flows the Coonoor River, its banks clothed with dwarfed, umbrageous jungle trees which twist their gnarled branches above a dense undergrowth of varied shrub. On the right and close by, winds the Coonoor Ghat lined with tall age old weeping cypresses and other conifers.
But this lovely expanse is marred by the actions of the people, who either use or live by, the very same ghat above. Most of the trash picked from the line had been washed in by the rains from the ghat road, either thrown away by those who ply the same, or dumped deliberately by the inhabitants thereabouts. If left uncleared this litter would surely have been washed in the next rain, right down into the ravine and ultimately to the river below.
At the end of the activity it looks that it can be safely but sadly stated, that, ‘Plastic anywhere is Plastic everywhere.’
The need of the hour to beat plastic pollution seems to be behavioural change through effective awareness campaigns ; and perhaps many more ‘Shramdaans’ at all levels, in a bid to undo the damage that has been done.