Environmentalist Foundation of India (E.F.I) is undertaking a full restoration of Thamarakeni Lake in Sholinganallur, South Chennai. The lake suffers from encroachment and a high level of sewage and solid waste. As well as implementing a physical restoration, E.F.I also follows a community-based conservation model. At the centre of this approach is the idea that the local community should be actively involved in the restoration process. It is important E.F.I reaches out to the community to show the work that is being undertaken and how the community can take an important role in conserving and maintaining the condition of the lake. Environmental awareness among the community is crucial to stopping the dumping of waste and for the future sustainability of our natural resources.
A community engagement event was held at the Sri Ponniyamman Temple, under 500 metres distance from the lake. The activity was held during the Tamil month of Adi, auspicious for the Female Goddesses of the Hindu Religion, and as such a place of religious significance was chosen. This provided a great opportunity to engage with a wider audience from the area. A stand and screen were set up within the temple grounds. The event included an orientation of the restoration of the lake and E.F.I’s activities followed by a screening of E.F.I’s documentary.
There was a good turn-out for the first time we conducted the event. We hope to continue this event in the future, bettering the engagement and relationship with Sholinganallur’s population. We will also seek to find similar opportunities in other similar places. One positive outcome was the connection made with a few people who showed us potential places for conducting wall-painting activities.
Setting up for the event with the help of local volunteers
Orientation conducted at the temple
The screening of an E.F.I. documentary