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1-min read

Fighting Plastic Pollution, One Bottle at a Time: Locals Come to Rescue of Erappu Waterfall in Kerala’s Kollam

On the recent World Environment Day, Erappu was in for a mission to save the nature’s bounty succumbing to plastic pollution.

News18

Updated:July 4, 2019, 8:19 PM IST
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Fighting Plastic Pollution, One Bottle at a Time: Locals Come to Rescue of Erappu Waterfall in Kerala’s Kollam
Hopeful of reducing the throwaway trend, garbage bins have been placed on the waterfall precincts to dump plastic waste.
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Thiruvananthapuram: Where the world counts each drop with care, the frothy waters of Erappu waterfall is lifeline in many ways to a sleepy village in Kerala’s Kollam. A perennial source all year round, dozens of cattle, flora and fauna benefit from it.

On the recent World Environment Day, Erappu was in for a mission to save the nature’s bounty succumbing to plastic pollution. A mass mission spearheaded by Archal Oliyaruk Erappu Waterfalls Athijeevana Samiti had people gather up on the hills and vales picking one plastic waste after another. The recyclers had taken away 15 sacks of plastics, mostly comprising single-use water bottles.

“Farming around our village panchayat is largely dependent on Erappu falls. In the past, low lying areas had paddy cultivation. Now a diverse range of vegetables are grown here. About 70 percent of the farmland is occupied by plantain cultivation. The place is home to a diverse reptile and animal population as well. It is not a drinking water source as there are many other options. Rainy season has the plastic waste get washed down to the valleys. It gets accumulated on the foothills as the flow becomes less forceful on hotter days,” says Vishal Udayakumar, a campaigner of the Samiti.

Erappu is fighting back, despite encroachment and plastic waste posing serious threat to its existence. On the World Environmental Day, they kicked off the campaign with an eye for a larger good for Erappu as it gets elevated to the status of a tourist destination by the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC). Members of the women collective Kudumbashree, Youth Club and Self-Help Group for Men were part of the clean-up drive.

“This is a first such drive after plastic leftovers started flowing in to the waterfall. Our panchayat is not at present equipped to eliminate plastic waste or recycle it. The collected materials were handed over to scrap dealers for upcycling. The initiative aims at a better community participation to keep it clean in future. Saplings were planted on both sides leading to the waterfall. The forest department had distributed it for free,” Vishal says. The drive was event listed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Hopeful of reducing the throwaway trend, garbage bins have been placed on the waterfall precincts to dump plastic waste.

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