Garbage in sea makes life tough for fishermen

Their nets have been heavily damaged after the garbage that went into the sea in the aftermath of the devastating cyclone.

CHENNAI: Its lull after the storm, literally. Fishermen in Chennai, who go into the sea looking for good catch of fish with catamarans and fibre boats, have not ventured into the sea, even four days after Cyclone Vardah pounded the city and its neighbourhood. Fisherfolk face a different problem altogether as their nets have been heavily damaged after the garbage that went into the sea in the aftermath of the devastating cyclone damaged them so much that they cannot venture into the sea. Vinod Raj, a young fisherman from Nambikkai Nagar in Pattinapakkam (Foreshore Estate), explained their problems in detail to Deccan Chronicle on Thursday.

“The Adyar estuary through which water from Chembarambakkam Lake meets the sea through the Adyar river has turned to be the mouth that dumps city’s garbage to the sea. After the cyclone, waste deposit into the sea has increased rapidly as the water flow is higher during heavy rainfall. We now return with damaged nets as the waste damages the fishing nets,” he said, looking despair at the huge waves that lash the shore.

“It will cost around Rs 12,000 to repair the nets” which is quiet a sum for poor fishermen like me who struggle to meet his daily needs with meager earnings. Another fisherman Alexander says due to the garbage that has deposited in the sea, fish that have gone deep into the sea would take another 10 to 15 days to return to the fishing area. “While a few face problems due to damaged net, others will have difficulty in getting good catch because of the garbage,” Mr Alexander said.

“The fishermen are the ones who know the sea better, when we are nobody but people sitting on the shore eating fish,” said environmentalist Nithyanandan Jayaraman. K Bharathi, president of South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association, said: “Fishermen now get more garbage in their net than fish, especially during the rainy days. Waste dumped in the lakes gets carried off to Adyar river to reach the sea.”

Blaming the PWD for not de-silting the water bodies periodically, he said, “As they have not de-silted, water now flows to the deeper side, raising the water level near the fishing hamlets near Pattinapakkam. Non maintenance of Adyar estuary has depleted the fish population.” The cyclone has affected the normal life of the fisherfolk as well. “There is no electricity for two days. We get weather updates only through TV or radio. Without power supply, we are unable to know the weather conditions to go for fishing,” said T. Boopalan, a fisherman who lost the income of the day, as he couldn’t go to the sea.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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