On March 10th at 8am, the Middle Schoolers were ready to leave the school to go to Siruthuli, an NGO based in Coimbatore that works to rejuvenate the water sources in the city. Siruthuli means a ‘small drop’ in Tamil. Once they reached, they hurried up the stairs to a big conference room. Our first speaker was Mrs. Srividhya, an apex member of Siruthuli. She explained how Siruthuli started as an organization. She spoke about the water shortages she faced when she was young and how previous generations used to play in the Noyyal river. She gave clarity on many terms about water and its usage in the city.
She then passed the microphone to two young German interns who had been volunteering in the organization for over a year. Merlin anna and Yaani anna conducted a discussion cum debate session for us. They divided us into six teams. Each team was assigned to represent one of the following: a specific segment of the River Noyyal along its course or the people in the mountains, city or village.
The next speaker was Saravanan anna who was a wildlife enthusiast. He talked about the treasures of the Western Ghats, the flora and fauna endemic to this place. He also put up a presentation with exclusive photographs he had taken during his many treks on these mountain ranges. Anna spoke in length about the Amur Falcon and described how their species travelled about 22,000 nautical miles every year for migration.
Next came two speakers who shared about Refuse, Reduce & Reuse. We even learnt to make cloth bags from old t-shirts. We returned to school after a scrumptious lunch at Pizza Hut. -Overall, it was a great experience for us.
– Vedant & Aksita
I sprang up from my chair to find a blue t-shirt on the table in front of me. Whaaat?
“Now, we are going to make a bag out of a t-shirt…“
Cool! I thought. I enthusiastically picked up a pair of scissors and made it into a sleeveless top. After that, we cut off the collar and the seam at the bottom. In the end, we tasselled the bottom and knotted them up. We turned the shirt inside out, and – voila! – a huge 100% cotton bag was in front of me. What a creation!
The thing that fascinated me the most was learning about the Amur Falcons. Anna explained how they migrate very long distances without resting at all. They start flying all the way from Siberia to South Africa and back. Unfortunately, hunters kill many of these magnificent species for food and, of course, money. I would like to stop the hunters from doing this.
Srividhya akka, our first speaker, told us that the RUNNING water that comes down the mountains is very fast and fierce. Since it is inaccessible to people, it is made to WALK by building check dams. The walking water is made to STAND in natural tanks and ponds. This water then goes underground through the soil and in turn makes the water SIT. I liked this analogy that she used.
I don’t understand
Why people pollute the rivers
Why they take it for granted
Why don’t they realize their mistakes?
But most of all
Why they always want more
Why they are not happy with what they have
Why is there endless greed?
What I understand is
Why some people still care
Why they don’t give up
Why they love the earth!
It was disheartening to know how badly the river, which gave birth to the Noyyal civilization in and around Coimbatore a few centuries ago, is polluted. At the same time, I felt grateful to Siruthuli for taking incredible efforts to do something about it. ‘Voice of Noyyal’ , an interesting and interactive activity conducted by two young German volunteers made us clearly understand the source of the river and how tons and tons of garbage is causing pollution throughout its coarse till it reaches the main river Kaveri. This trip was surely an eye opener.