A club on a mission to protect Puthuvypeen beach
Gratis P. Aby, all of nine years old, is busy picking up plastic from the beach while her friends, seven-year-old Jordan Antony and 13-year-old Shibin Solly, are helping her collect waste that has washed up on the Puthyvypeen beach in the early hours of Sunday.
They are part of an army of young enthusiasts who have joined the monthly cleaning up of the beach, where they have found relaxation and entertainment amid COVID-19 restrictions.
The Vypeen Beach Club, Puthuvypeen, comprising enthusiastic swimmers and environmental activists, launched its monthly beach clean-up and swimming training programme on Sunday as part of their summer activities.
The training programme was part of efforts to create awareness about safety and care for the marine environment, said Shammi Chakrabarty, secretary of the beach club. He said after the COVID-19 breakout, there had been a considerable rise in the number of people taking to swimming as part of leisure activities.
The beach club was instrumental in spreading awareness about physical activities to ensure a healthy future, he said, and added that people who had joined the club during the pandemic reported better health.
Cyriac Thomas, a lawyer and member of the club, said the number of people visiting the beach and seeking relaxation had been increasing.
Pichappan, who is nearly 80 years old, said he was part of the club, which specialised in inculcating a love for the sea among youngsters. He said he had saved several people, both as a fisherman and as a swimmer who was often present on the beach during leisure hours.
Officials from the Fire and Safety Department on Sunday distributed lifebuoys and life jackets to trainers and trainees on the beach as part of the programme.