Fighting Another War: How the Indian Navy turned eco-warriors and led by gritty example

A team of around 400 naval personnel cleaned and removed plastic waste accumulated over years in Kochi's Backbay channel.

 |  4-minute read |   25-06-2019
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In times of war, it is these heroes who ensure we are safe. In times of peace too, these are the heroes who step in to protect the environment.

On Saturday, naval personnel in Cochin turned eco-warriors by cleaning up the 2.5-km long 'Backbay' channel to rid it of plastic and other non-biodegradable waste.

A team of around 300 to 400 naval personnel of the INS Venduruthy Base under Southern Naval Command (SNC), led by Vice-Admiral A K Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-inC), launched the drive at the channel that is also known as 'Venduruthy'. According to reports, “a considerable amount of plastic waste had accumulated in the channel over the years, thereby depleting mangroves and affecting the local flora and fauna.”

The channel connects the Kollam-Kottapuram route and runs along the western side of the naval residential enclave of Katari Bagh.

main_navy_cleaning_r_062419070215.jpgLeading by example: Navy personnel removing truckloads of non-biodegradable waste from Backbay. (Photo: Twitter/ @indiannavy)

The guards of the nation set a terrific example for their countrymen to follow by taking up this environmental issue in their own hands. The naval base has also taken various initiatives to clean the channel on a regular basis and to plant Vetiver (also known as 'ramacham' in Malayalam) saplings that can prevent soil erosion and restore the natural ecosystem. Besides, sustainable in-house solutions have been implemented to keep the naval base and Katari Bagh clean and green, news reports said.

The armed forces of our country go through a lot. From being posted in excruciating circumstances to defend the nation against external attacks, staring death in the face almost every single day, to heartwarming acts of taking care of civilians who are traumatised in situations of strife to saving us even in natural disasters.

Despite this, in times of peace, it is these warriors who take strong steps when municipal authorities and government bodies are not able to come up with and provide lasting solutions to waste disposal and sanitation measures.

The drive coincides with the platinum jubilee of INS Venduruthy, which is the oldest Naval Base of the country.

The base was established on August 31, 1939, when a small naval contingent was set up in Kochi under a Royal Indian Navy Officer. The naval base was commissioned as His Majesty’s Indian Ship Venduruthy on June 23, 1943, which was renamed Indian Naval Ship Venduruthy after Independence.

The drive does not stop there — INS Venduruthy is also carrying out various outreach activities, including helping residents of Vathuruthy village — the majority of whom are migrant labourers — by organising awareness campaigns on garbage disposal.

Cleanliness, they say, begins at home. By cleaning the waterways at home, the Indian Navy has sent out a message that there are battles to be fought for saving the environment even during times of peace with other countries.

And, in these battles, each one of us should be a warrior.

Also read: A Viraat Row: No, Rajiv Gandhi didn't treat INS Viraat as his private taxi. And yes, we must bring the precious carrier back to life

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