Several residents and youth groups came together for an umbrella rally to raise awareness of a host of environmental issues facing the city, including loss of biodiversity and climate change.
A group of women danced to the beat of the drums as children and the elderly carried signs and painted umbrellas to highlight the city’s pressing environmental issues, including saving Pulicat Lake.
Benisha B. of the Chennai Climate Action Group said that in the context of the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference, it is time for the city’s local issues to gain prominence. “These meetings do not provide solutions to our problems. The Ennore-Manali region, an important ecological hub that houses a huge oil refinery and a coal-fired power station, has become a hotbed of pollution. The beaches are becoming a prey for urbanization and this must stop, ”she said.
Vandana Viswanath, a climate activist, said it was heartbreaking to see wetlands polluted and decimated by power plants. “In addition to disrupting the ecosystem and causing loss of biodiversity, the livelihoods of a multitude of people are greatly affected,” Ms. Viswanath said.
Musician TM Krishna said that while young people’s understanding and awareness of environmental issues has grown significantly, it is important to support such campaigns and keep the momentum going. “What we need to realize is that social justice and environmental change are closely linked,” he added.