Andhra launches mega beach clean-up drive | Latest News India

Hyderabad

Over 76 tonnes of plastic was collected by more than 22,000 people in what is claimed as the world’s largest beach clean-up drive all along the 28-km stretch coast of Bay of Bengal in the port city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on Friday.

The beach-cleaning drive was taken up by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation in collaboration with Parleys for the Ocean, a US-based global network of various groups working on creating awareness on the beauty and fragility of the oceans.

The event, which began early in the morning, witnessed thousands of participants collecting plastic and other waste material all along the coastline from Gokul beach to Bheemili beach, covering a distance of 28 km. “In all, 76 tonnes of plastic waste dumped on the beach sand was collected,” an official release from the chief minister’s office (CMO) said.

It said Andhra Pradesh is the first state in the country to have undertaken an ambitious task of protecting the environment.

Chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, who flagged off the driver, said the drive would go a long way in protecting the flora and fauna on the second largest coastline in the country and also in safeguarding the marine ecosystem.

Stating that it is the responsibility of every citizen and the government to protect the thriving ecosystem, Jagan announced that his government had launched a drive against the use of plastic in the state.

On this occasion, the chief minister announced a complete ban on use of plastic for making flex boards and banners in the state. “Henceforth, banners and boards made of only cloth would be allowed, though it is a little costlier. This is a first step towards a complete ban on usage of plastic by 2027,” he said.

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Jagan pointed out that the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, which manages the country’s most popular temple of Lord Venkateshwara on Tirumala hills, has already been following plastic-free policy and it is yielding good results. “It is using woven cloth bags on the holy hills, instead of plastic bags. Similarly, no plastic drinking water bottles are allowed in Tirumala,” he said.

On this occasion, the state government entered into an MoU with Parleys for the Oceans for making Andhra Pradesh plastic free by 2027. “A state which carries a population of 52 million people and a coastline of 976 km, to witness this first-of-its-kind initiative on a massive scale has never been achieved by anyone in the world,” Jagan said.

According to the MoU, the organisation would take up various initiatives such as establishment of over 500 AIR (avoid, intercept and redesign plastic) stations in the local bodies, creation of eco-innovation hubs to help curb plastic pollution, interception of plastic disposal along coastline, in drains, irrigation channels and river lines, mobilisation of approximately 20,000 ocean warriors and train them by paying each of them 16,000 per month and spending around US $ 2 billion on this mission.

Chief Executive Officer of Parleys for the Ocean Cyrill Gustch said the network was also contemplating launching Parleys Future Institute, a research centre that will help study redesigning of the collected plastic waste.


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