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Social Media unites Nanganallur locals as residents help themselves in pond cleanup!

The water scarcity in Chennai has hit the people badly this year as a lot of ponds and other water resources have completely drained. The people are looking out for the possible ways to restore the water or at least wanting to do their bit to make sure that they are ready to save the water once the rain hit the city soon.

In one such inspiring activity, the local residents of Nanganallur on Sunday cleaned up an empty pond at their locality by removing the wastes such plastics to make sure the pond gets ready to hold up the water once it rains.

The pond is situated near the famous Shivan Temple at the Nanganallur, and it normally doesn’t go out of water. Now, the pond has completely drained up, and the people have thrown a lot of wastes into the empty pond.

The local residents have gathered in numbers with at least 300 people of various age group turning up early in the morning.

To organize, to gather people isn’t an easy task.

Ram Ganesh, one of the organizers of the event, revealed on call that everything started through a small Facebook post. The man behind the idea was Prashanth VKumar who posted the following message on the Facebook group Nanganallur. To make sure that this doesn’t go down as just another Facebook posts, a WhatsApp group genuinely dedicated only for the cleanup was created and was shared along with the post.

As the number of people joining the group increased, what was just an idea, started to get shape gradually. The organizers then fixed the date as 16th June, and a few days before the event, the organizers met the concerned persons and carried the plan forward.

One thing the organizers were sure of is that the event shouldn’t be projected as a “political stunt” and the same was agreed by the political parties. More than 100 volunteers from Rajini Makkal Mandram joined the event as well.

The ex-counsellor Mr Bharani Prasad also chipped in to help the organizers with the necessary permission from the Greater Corporation and the Police Department.
The local residents and a few shopkeepers chipped in to help out with the requirements, say, the first-aid kits, drinking water etc.
(Mentioning a few here- Mr Sathish helped out with providing labour, materials, gloves, masks for cleaning. While Mr Srinivasan for arranging buttermilk/tea/water cans, Mr Thirugnanasambandar for providing first aid kit/mic set/trash bags, Mr Sreekanth volunteered to take care of the official pictures, the Hindu and the Nanganallur Talk covered the event.)

Here is the photo and the video of how the pond looked before the clean-up.

From plastics to dead fish, the pond had everything and that required more than a hundred volunteers to clean the same. To make sure there was at least a minimum turn-up, the organizers wanted everyone to share the message or the Whatsapp link of the group to their friends.

On Sunday morning, June 16th, at 6 am, the volunteers who are majorly the local residents of different age groups, started to pour in. They were split into teams and a coordinator was named for each team to make the communication better. The event went for more than two hours and at least 80% of the pond area looked neat, obviously better than how it was earlier.

To everyone’s surprise, the waste wasn’t from the Tasmac which is situated nearby the pond but is from the common people.

A few volunteers revealed- “Major wastes were from the people who performed the rituals for the death. They have left behind a lot of bricks, and the plastics decomposed on these bricks. People should be really careful about what they throw inside the pond. There were glasses, pots as well”

“We even found a condom here and it might have flown from elsewhere but it is certainly disgusting,” added a few other volunteers while a few more added that “it is a good initiative and is nice to see people at this early morning coming together for a good cause. We also would like to join in furthermore such events. More than exercise, at least the people who turned up today will think about disposing of the wastes.”

Certainly, the event was a great success and shows what happens when Social Media is used right. Kudos to all the volunteers who joined their hands for a great cause and this might well be the start for something big and nice.

Image courtesy: Sreekanth

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