The Bay of Life Surf and SUP school has organized a beach cleanup for their home turf situated in Kovlam, Tamil Nadu. On the first two Saturday’s of March, students from the American International School in Chennai will come to the beach and collect trash. Unfortunately, infrastructure for dealing with trash in these areas is absent. What this means is that when beach cleanups are conducted, the trash is usually just relocated to another vacant lot. It never really leaves the environment, and this leaves it with the potential to wind back up in the sea.
Bay of Life instructors and visionaries have organized a beach cleanup with an artistic twist. After collecting the trash on the beach, and having it cleaned and disinfected, the students are challenged with creating a craft project or art from the garbage. This enables creativity on behalf of the students, but also gets the trash out of the marine environment.
“We would really like other schools and clubs in India to see our initiative… we hope that it will catch on and other schools will do the same.” Says Madhumathi Ravi of Bay of Life Surf and SUP School. It is also their hope if some of the resulting craft projects are successful enough, there may be a future of raising funds to host further events or to send their paddlers to international competitions.
Currently, the paddlers from the Bay of Life are the National Champions two years in a row for SUP and love sharing the SUP stoke with others. Kids involved with the beach cleanup on either Saturday have the opportunity to demo a SUP or surf board under the guidance of Bay of Life professionals and WPA instructors.
The event went extremely well. Kids from the American International School, their parents, and younger siblings came out and cleaned up the beach at Kovlam. Even though it is a small section of beach, it removed over 10 bags of garbage from the beach. This is trash that will not end up in the mouths of local wildlife. It has prompted further initiatives by members of the community to contact a nearby resort about their dumping practices of trash down the beach from their resort at the public beach. After a hot time in the sun cleaning up the trash, all the participants relaxed in the clear waters swimming, surfing, and paddling. Many of them trying surf or SUP for the first time.
Additional beach cleanups and environmental education field trips are in the works for the crew at Bay of Life. Good luck, and have fun!