As of tomorrow half a decade would have rolled by since Clean Coonoor and its volunteers, officials, and the general public, joined hands to take upon themselves the mammoth task of cleaning the middle stream of the Coonoor River.

It would not be an overstatement to say that the whole venture would have been impossible, had it not been for the generosity shown by Mrs. Rajashree Pinnamaneni of Hyderabad, who funded the whole project.

It is also time to take stock, to reflect, for both helps give us proper perspective, lets us learn from past mistakes, and allows us to get great new ideas.

Although the river cannot be said to have gone back to square one thanks to the follow up efforts of the Coonoor Municipality, all is not well.

Now where did we go wrong. First and foremost the cleanup was complacently taken to be an onetime affair. No account was taken that even though dumping and littering could be controlled within the town’s limit, the same could not be said of the entire basin of drainage. Again there’s the question of the surface runoff during rains, which tends to wash carelessly thrown about litter down into the nearest stream.

Standalone repetitive cleanups aren’t going to help. Neither are signages aimed to bring about behavioural change. Unless strategies aimed at preventing waste from being created in the first place and making it easy and convenient for people to dispose of their waste properly, are formulated, nothing much is going to change.

On the eve of World Environment Day, we at Clean Coonoor hope that the citizenry will join hands with more new ideas and innovations to prevent sullying of the river, and not let the previous efforts go in vain.

Picture Courtesy – Navin Harris

Our Solid Waste Management Activities have safely disposed 12,000 metric tons of Municipal Solid Waste, a savings of 5900 tons of CO2 emissions equivalent as of April 2024

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