Famous for being the town that is home to many temples, Tamil Nadu's Tiruvannamalai had eight water tanks that had been abandoned for decades and used to dump garbage and waste instead.
What started as an attempt to bring the water tanks back their former glory is now a testimony of triumph, thanks to a group of 20-30 young people. These youngsters started cleaning the water tanks in September 2016, and removed the waste one after the other. They chose their Sundays for the task, and dedicated around three to four hours to clean the water.
Poova Raghavan M, a member of the group told Times of India:
Many of us have seen these tanks brimming with water when we were children. As years passed, we saw these ancient tanks being abandoned. They turned into garbage dumping yards. Even drainage was discharged into many of these water bodies. This made some of us very angry, and we wanted to put an end to it. So, we turned our emotions into something useful, and ventured to conserve them."
The clean-up drive has been named Neer Thuli (Water Drop) by the group. Started with hardly 30 people initially, the group grew in number gradually. With authorities not paying heed to consistent requests by the public, the youth of the town took a step forward, and facilitated the clean-up drive themselves.
According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), India’s 91 major reservoirs cumulatively contain 157.8 billion cubic metre (BCM) of water, whereas the capacity of the reservoirs is 250 BCM. This means water levels in Indian reservoirs is only at 71 percent. The CWC data also points out that the maximum water is in India’s eastern and central regions – 44 percent and 36 percent, respectively. The South, West, and North are 20 percent, 26 percent and 27 percent, respectively.