Coastal Conservation Efforts in Chennai

Our day started with the stunning sight of the dazzling sunrise at Chennai’s beach! On 6th of February 2021 from 7 am, the cleanup on 6th February started at 7 am from the beach stretch of the Ashtalakshmi Temple Beach, Besant Nagar. Each volunteer was provided with a sac bag and a glove and the orientation was given about what to collect in the sac bag, a common sac bag was kept at the center to collect the glass bottles separately. Volunteers were so eager to collect the garbage, especially lots of Ghost nets were removed by our volunteers.

  • No of volunteers – around 45-50
  • Totally 50-55 sac bags were collected in which 4 of the bags contains only glass bottle
  • Each of the bag weighs around 10-12 Kg of trash. Approximately 600 Kg of trash was removed

The event ended at 9:00 am, during the cleanup at the gathering point some of the micro plastics were collected by the event coordinator to show the volunteers that how much our beach stretch was polluted. Nearly about 100-120 pieces of micro plastics were collected within a small area of about 10 feet diameter and the ending orientation was given about reducing the Great Pacific Garbage patch and the importance of ecology. For collection of trash GCC’s Urbaser was informed before the event, the garbage machine arrived on time 10 minutes after the event.

We thank all those who joined us for this clean up!

Volunteer for India and her Environment with E.F.I, Jai Hind

Beach Clean Up at 4th Seaward Road Beach

On the morning of 23rd of January 2021, the beach stretch of 4th Seaward Road, Thiruvanmiyur had seemed to come to life! As volunteers from across the city gathered around the coordinator, orientation was given about the negative effects of micro plastics and the importance of beach cleanup owing to the Olive Ridley’s nesting site. This was followed by what needed to be collected in the sac bag, and what items needed more safety measures.

  • No of volunteers – around 30-35
  • Totally 38-40 sac bags were collected in which 4 of the bags contained only glass bottles
  • Each of the bags weighed around 10-12 Kg. Approximately 400 Kg of trash was removed

The event ended at 9:00 am. During the clean up at the gathering point, some of the micro plastics were collected by the event coordinator to show the volunteers that how much our beach stretch had been polluted. Nearly about 100-120 pieces of micro plastics were collected from a small area of about 10 feet diameter.

The closing remarks mentioned how we as responsible consumers can reduce the use of single-use plastics followed by a story of how the Dodo bird became extinct! For collection of trash, GCC’s Urbaser was informed before the event, and the garbage machine arrived on time 10 minutes after the event.

We thank all those who had joined us for the Beach Clean Up! We thank the GCC and the HCL Foundation for supporting this effort!

Volunteer for India and her Environment with E.F.I, Jai Hind

Coral Reefs of the Andaman Archipelago

History of the ‘emerald’ archipelago :

Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean are known for its pristine beauty and is an archipelago of around 550 islands between the Bay of Bengal and Andaman sea. Recollecting our history of 1014 AD , Rajendra Chola of the Chola Empire used these islands as a naval base to conduct expeditions planned against the Sriwijaya Empire (Indonesia today).

The oldest residents of these islands are the indigenous people who have lived there for 30,000-60,000 years. Classified as a union territory, it is a thriving commercial fishing port, hub for tourism , defense base for our Armed Forces and thick with evergreen forests, dazzling white beaches that gradually slope onto the ocean floor carpeted with coral reefs seen from the sky.

Knowing the reefs and the corals that thrive on it :

Reefs are ridges of material made from rock formations, sand or corals(tiny organisms living in colonies) and found near the surface of oceans . In the Andaman archipelago , coral reefs are an underwater paradise brimming with colorful marine life, magnificent corals and covering around 12000 square kilometers of a bustling ecosystem. What makes the corals so colorful are the tiny algae living inside the coral tissues that secrete pigments that are visible through the clear body of the coral skeleton.

Image from

Why are the Andaman coral reefs so precious ?

Coral reefs are most unique that support more species per unit area than any other marine environment and scientists estimate that there may be millions of undiscovered species of organisms living in and around reefs. Coral reefs account for more than a quarter of all marine life.

  • The intricate gaps between the three-dimensional coral structures provide an underwater environment for a host of marine life to survive and thrive. The Andaman archipelago has around 1200 species of fishes belonging to 165 families , 179 species of corals, marine worms, crustaceans, clams, and many other animals and plants, all of which play a unique and vital role in the coral reef ecosystem.
  • Coastal protection : The coral reef structure acts as a natural buffer and protects shorelines against waves, storms, and floods , helping to prevent loss of life, property damage, and erosion.
  • Coral reefs are an important food source for the people who live near reefs, and, as nurseries, are vital to the world’s fisheries. Many of the compounds found on corals reefs and proteins derived from sea animals are being used in human medicines to treat cancer , arthritis, human bacterial infections, viruses, and other diseases.
  • Read this fascinating article on ‘designer toxins’ that use coral snake venom and produce life-saving drugs for hyper-tension, high blood pressure and heart-attacks.

Did you know ?

Most white sand beaches are actually made of Parrotfish excreta (yes, you read that correctly!).In the Andamans , Parrot fish(in picture below) are a highly endangered species and at the risk of extinction due to spear-fishing . They are saviors of the coral reefs by consuming and scraping the extra algae from corals and excreting soft white sand in return.

Species such as parrotfish spend 90% of their day cleaning the reef by grazing on coral-damaging algae(Pic credit : Alamy)

Reality today and effects of climate change on corals reefs :

El Niño and La Niña are complex weather patterns resulting from variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific and have a large-scale impact on the global weather conditions and affects the monsoon climate of the Indian subcontinent. Due to warmer temperatures corals get ‘bleached’ and large swaths of reef-building corals die. This causes reefs to erode, destroying fish habitat and exposing previously protected shorelines to the destructive force of ocean waves.

The tragic tsunami in the Indian Ocean of December 2004 wiped out around 97% of the mangrove cover, destroyed majority of the coral reefs and many beaches simply vanished. Affected countries were mainly India, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

In the past decade, the Andaman coral reefs are healing and bringing in tourism income for the local communities, but major threats to the corals such as increase in water temperatures due to global warming, sediment deposition , increased salinity of water , over-fishing , marine pollution etc., remain.

Bits of plastic, lying on the seafloor!

2020 has indeed been a year of learnings, understanding the significance of Mother Nature and the need for coexistence. Rolling through the high and low tides of 2020, made us reflect on our actions and their ultimate consequences. Thus, we humans have determinedly adapted to the stay clean, stay home and stay safe motto. With this spirit, there has been an increase in the ocean cleanups across the world which has brought forward many catastrophic revelations.

Focusing on our national beaches, scuba divers in all the coastal cities have geared up to make our seas hygienic again. The greatest example is that of the team of scuba divers in Visakhapatnam. Scuba divers of Livein Adventures, an adventure sports firm from Vizag, on Christmas Day resumed their scuba diving activity post the lockdown.600 kgs of trash was collected from under the sea in a day. The divers started finding trash just few feet into the sea.  The trash that was picked up included huge amounts of face masks of various types, hand sanitiser bottles, gloves, and other COVID-19-related waste, apart from the usual plastic waste.

This highlights the need to create large-scale awareness among the citizens and local bodies to keep a check on their waste management system and contribution towards preserving our pristine environment.

Visakhapatnam has come under extensive attention in terms of the seafloor cleanups and has seen an upsurge in the number of the teams of scuba divers that regularly dive into the placid beach waters and work incessantly to clean the seafloor. The most surprising feature was that most of the litter found was the COVID-19 related litter which is extremely harmful for the precious marine life. Thus, grave concern arises in this field and poses threat to the future of our marine habitat.

To put it in a nutshell, the need of the hour is to become aware about the results and effects our actions might have on the ecosystem. That is, we must ensure that we dispose of the plastic items and the Covid-19 related safety items with extra-precaution. It is advisable to use eco-friendly safety items like cloth masks which will reduce the plastic waste burden.

 We must strive for protecting our Mother Nature’s beautiful creations with great dedication and determination. 

India gains the Blue Flag tick!

The Eight Blue Flag Indian Beaches

Source: India Today

The Indian coast is a beautiful and unique feature of our peninsula, but it was only a few months ago that few of the beaches on the Indian coast were awarded the title of being one among the Blue Flag beaches.

The Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by “Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark” based on 33 stringent criteria under four major heads — environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environment management and conservation, and safety and services at the beaches.

 The eight beaches certified as ‘Blue Flag Beaches’ are:

  1. Shivrajpur beach in Gujarat
  2. Ghoghla in Diu.
  3. Kasarkod in Karnataka 
  4. Padubidri in Karnataka.
  5. Kappad in Kerala
  6. Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh,
  7. Golden beach in Odisha and
  8. Radhanagar in Andaman and Nicobar Islands:

With this feat, India joined the few countries in Asia qualified for the Blue Flag certification and this indeed is an achievement for our country. This certification brings with it greater opportunities for India to expand the ecotourism sector, ensuring the tourists a sustainable experience. 

India, which started working on getting the tag in 2018,plans to expand the network of Blue Flag certification to 100 beaches in the country in the next five years. The next major projects include the beaches of Bhogave (Maharashtra), Kovalam (Tamil Nadu), Eden (Puducherry), Miramar (Goa) and Bangaram (Lakshadweep). This can only be possible when we, citizens, join hands with the local bodies in preserving the beaches by maintaining cleanliness and avoiding any kind of harm to the oceanic environment. If we ensure this, we will definitely gain the world-wide recognition for all our beaches in the near future!

How Old is the Sea?


The Indian landmass is a nation of varied geographical landscapes and different societies and cultures. But one important sphere of the country remains unnoticed, that is, the rich diverse oceans that encompass the peninsular country. Beneath these vast stretches of crystal clear water bodies lies the ancient remains of our ancestors and past civilizations of our planet. Recent excavations have discovered artistic broken pottery on the shores of the Indian ocean which are reported to belong to the Middle Eastern Abbasid caliphate and the Chinese Ming dynasty. These are some of the many instances that remind us of the world’s oldest long-distance trans-oceanic trading arena which is sometimes known as the cradle of globalization– the majestic Indian Ocean. Description:Underwater wrecks.

The cultural connections with the Indian Ocean are significantly ancient and they highlight the cosmopolitanism of the Indian ocean which fairly explains the wide range of cultures that inhabit our motherland. After colonization, these oceans were used extensively as a means of transport until the other advanced alternatives were discovered. Thus, these incredible oceans have constituted an important part of our economy and a comparatively convenient mode of travel in the past and continue to occupy a very important part of our country’s military and financial foundation. 

Ancient Maritime Trade. Source:

The seafloor provides a beautiful view of the colorful biodiversity and rich deposits of various minerals that are necessary for a country’s progress. However, deep ocean studies have been limited in the Indian oceans due to economic constraints but few missions are being carried out resulting in path-breaking discoveries. 

In times of rapid global warming and environmental degradation, studying the oceans has become important, especially the Indian oceans as they are warming faster than any other ocean leading to a faster rate of submerging of low-lying islands and hence endangering the habitation living there. Excessive industrial activity near the coasts, burdening the ocean-floor with deep-sea explorations, and many other hazardous activities are putting the future of our planet at risk, and hence, we require a change in the way the society behaves selfishly and the strict enaction of laws that regulate pollution caused by industries. And before we urge others to take immediate actions, we need to awaken ourselves and take effective steps to curb natural degradation and hence, secure the future of Mother Earth.


A Beach Clean up on a Winter Morning

As a cool gush of air had blown past us on a winter morning in Chennai, our day started with the collection of trash from the beach stretch of Ashtalakshmi Temple in Besant Nagar. The poster released on the 6th of January brought 30 volunteers to the beach stretch. On 9th January by 7 am, with gloves tightened, and with sack bags in the hands, our volunteers were ready to pick up non-biodegradable waste from Chennai’s coast.

  • Plastic and glass bottles were collected separately.
  • About 15 sack bags were collected within 2 hours.
  • The approx calculation of 1 sack bag to 8 kg makes sure that about 100 kg of Plastic waste and 20 kg of Glass bottle waste was collected from the stretch on the day.

We observed something positive that day. The quantum of trash had gradually decreased in the area thanks to our hard-working volunteers and support from the city administration which we noticed by the presence of GCC’s machine, which picks up trash from the soil on the beach. Prior information to Urbaser had resulted in the separation of the waste collected on the spot and was transported for recycling.

The clean up on the 4th Seaward Road Beach was no different from this. Taking place at the same time, this beach clean up saw close to 30 volunteers come together to clean Chennai’s coast!

  • No of volunteers – around 25-30
  • Totally 20 sack bags were collected in which 3 of the bags contains only glass bottle
  • Each of the bag weighs around 10-12 Kg of trash. Approximately 240 Kg of trash was removed

Both the events ended at 9:15 am, and an ending orientation was given about the need for beach clean up helping marine life, eco tips and about E.F.I and it works for example ERASE, PLASTONE, GLASS WALL etc. For collection of trash, GCC’s Urbaser was informed before the event, and the garbage machine arrived on time 10 minutes after the event!

We thank all those who had joined us for the Beach Clean Up! We thank the GCC and the HCL Foundation for supporting this effort!

Volunteer for India and her Environment with E.F.I, Jai Hind

Revive. Survive. Strive.

Oceans form a crucial part of our nature. They not only cool down the atmosphere and provide us with life-giving clouds but also provide shelter to millions of species of marine organisms. Unfortunately, the graceful water bodies of our beloved World are under serious threat of degradation. Be it the large amounts of CO2 emissions that raise the temperature and evaporation of water from oceans or be it the large-scale pollution of the pristine waters with non-biodegradable items, mankind has put the entire system of ecological balance on risk for it’s own benefit. We need to change this negligent and selfish attitude else we must be ready for the disastrous future.

Keeping in mind the 14th UNDP sustainable goal for development, it is evident that governments and authorities definitely have a role to play in the conservation of water-bodies but it all starts with the participation of individuals. It is wrong to blame the entire society for this menace because most of the people are unaware of the fact that their simple ignorant actions are the roots of complex and massive environmental destruction. Thus, here we present three easy ways in which you can contribute towards a healthy tomorrow for you and your future generations.

1. THINK before you ACT

Generally we do something important for our well-being with all care and strength but when it comes to nature and it’s preservation, we tend to neglect the consequences of our actions. Thus, before you buy a plastic bag, before you unwrap a polythene cover, keep in mind that proper disposal of these hazardous substances is more important than their usage. Especially when you are at a beach having a jolly picnic, remember the water-bodies are a part of our larger family called ecosystem and hence contaminating them is not rightful.

2. Opt for recyclable items

Single use plastics are convenient to use but their decomposition takes a very long time. Thus, we must opt for alternatives like paper or cloth items which cause relative less harm to the nature.

3. Eat sustainably 

Food forms an essential part of anyone’s life. Thus, making wise decisions about the food you eat is one of the best ways to help our environment recover. Eat local. Eat sustainable. Do not crave for seafoods that are over exploited and help these species survive and replenish.

By following these three simple steps, one can do a lot on one’s behalf for the better future and healthy living of the mankind and the marine ecosystem.