Greens gear up to save Pulicat lake

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A group of environmentalists led by the AARDE (Art & Architecture Research, Development Education) Foundation, Chennai, have come forward to save the country’s second largest brackish water lake – the picturesque Pulicat – from turning into a dumping yard of plastic waste.

Situated on the Tamil Nadu – Andhra Pradesh border, (Ponneri – Nellore) about 60 km north of the city, the lake attracts a large number of tourists.

Though it lacks in infrastructure, the lake has been witnessing a sharp increase in tourist activity prompting the officials to initiate steps to establish more amenities there.

Though there are no conducted tours to this scenic spot organised by the Tourism department, tourists and nature lovers take up the expedition on their own and often depend on the local fisherfolks for a boat ride.

Watching a large number of avian species including flamingos, pelicans, kingfishers, herons, painted storks, spoonbills, ducks, etc. is a delightful sight.

Moved by the alarming levels of pollution in the area, the AARDE organised a “coastal clean-up” campaign on September 15 at Pulicat, which is also known as Pazhaverkadu, in which about 177 enthusiasts participated.

“A total 1,580 kg waste of which 95 per cent was plastics — water bottles and bags — were collected,” said Ms Xavier Benedict, founder trustee of AARDE.

The spot is also seeped in history. Pulicat was once a flourishing trading port during the time of the Dutch, who came there in 1607 and prior to this during the Chola era.

The Dutch cemetery, bird sanctuary, two temples, a Portuguese cemetery, a church, two mosques and Fort Geldria are among the major attractions here.

Locals and AARDE have pitched in for UNESCO’s world heritage (natural site) status for this lake.

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