Minister initiates sea cleaning mission; collects 250-ton plastic waste
Alappuzha: The massive ocean cleaning mission ‘Suchithwa Sagaram’ was launched by Minister Mercykutty Amma here on Monday. About 250 ton plastic was collected from Neendakara and Sakthikulangara regions. The government is planning to extend the programme to Kochi, Alappuzha, Kozhikode coasts too.
The programme started after the boat owners took special interest in it. The fishermen collected all sorts of waste materials from the sea bed and brought them to the land. Women were assigned with the task of sorting them out.
The plastic collected is kept in the harbor engineering building in Sakthikulangara. As the next step, they plan to purchase a plastic cutting machine with the Rs 14 lakh granted under the Suchithwa Mission programme.
The mission will be completed with the help of panchayats, volunteer organizations and educational institutions. The crushed plastic will be used by Clean Kerala company for road construction.
The fishermen has started to do away with the practice of throwing plastic kits, which they use to wrap food items, to the sea after use. Now, they keep the plastic in the boat and return to the land. The boat owners were given 2000 sacks to collect the waste from sea.
More than 65 percent of the collected waste are plastic, said Merin, who sorted out the waste. Carry bags, milk and curd packets and sacks are the main items found among the wastes. Small fish often get trapped inside these covers. Also diapers, sanitary napkins, footwear, plastic bottles, rubber and other similar objects are trapped in the fishing net.
The concept of being the first state in the country that initiates sea cleaning was conceived while attending the Indian Ocean Rim Meet. "Kerala will be the first state in Asia that cleans the sea. So, we decided to start the programme with the help of central and state governments. The most inspiring factor is the eagerness shown by the fisherfolk in purifying the sea," said Mercykutty Amma.