A famous Tamil movie song praising all parts of Tamil Nadu except Chennai goes like this – Chennayile ennada thanni konjam kooda illada (No water at all in Chennai). I was offended then, being a Chennaite. The message is true but the reason is alarming when we see how a beautiful city’s resources had been over used and destroyed for commercial purposes.
My grand father from a village near Thanjavur used to say that he doesn’t get fresh unpolluted air in Chennai like he gets in his native.
My aunt from a place near Trichy says she gets good quality of vegetables for a cheaper price unlike Chennai.
One of our family friends says the water is really good in his place near South Tamil Nadu unlike Chennai.
My point is that, Chennai is not a city born dirty with pollution, instead it was made so by settlers. By Settlers, I mean my fellow Indians who came to Chennai seeking job or starting business including the next generation of my grand father, aunty and family friend who accused Chennai.
The very thought of Cooum river brings a disgust to all of us now but how many of us know that it was once a perfectly pure river serving people. Chennai was a fishing village once and Cooum played a major role in it. There were 49 kinds of fish species in Cooum when it was pure. Also, it served as a channel for marine trade to a greater extent. In fact, late 18th century had seen people taking bath in Cooum. Such a beautiful place attracted lot of traders who settled here slowly. The traders who had their shops in the banks of the river started dumping wastes into the river, then slowly pesticide wastes were dumped by farmers and then the mega dumps from industrial waste came in. This continued for ages and made the river worst.
The river became no more usable but the industries that entered Chennai had to survive. Ground Water was exploited then for use and Cooum river for waste. What a shame.
As a Corporate Social Responsibility, the industries must have at least given a think about cleaning the river but that never happened. Government took charge and brought this issue seriously (may be for political reasons) but went directionless. Ironically, in parallel, there was also a fancy scheme of ‘Sea Water clean up for consumption’ . Where is it now?
Amidst all these issues, still the city invites and serves the people of Tamil Nadu and other states with a welcome hand. Chennai da!