Chaliyar River Paddle 2019 successfully concludes with a message to go plastic negative
Over 100 water sports enthusiasts participated in the Chaliyar River Paddle 2019, organised by Jellyfish Watersports, in association with Kerala Tourism. In 3 days we covered over 68 km and paddled all the way till Jellyfish Watersports Cheruvannur Kozhikode. It was all about getting Kerala to bounce back, along with spreading awareness about the disastrous plastic deposits around the river after the recent floods. Naval commander Abhilash Tomy and Asian Games gold medalist Shweta Shervegar were joined by a few environmentalists like Aakash Ranison, a stand paddling group and tourists from different parts of the country and abroad.
It was a plastic negative event, as the paddlers went plastic free for three days and moreover helped clean the river while they paddled. The whole idea was to promote water sports like kayaking, Stand up Paddle (SUPing) and sailing as it helps build the connection with the water bodies, turning more and more youngsters and tourists into evangelists of clean waters. Clearing up plastic and garbage from the river is just one thing, but what makes the real difference is rejecting plastic altogether. So, we urged the participants to stop using single-use plastic, right from the time they leave home, and the next was to urge them to leave one single-use plastic from their daily lives.
This activity flowed into the digital platforms, and the message got spread to about a million people through the participants and public figures present in the event. After all it’s a ripple effect, with one we hope many will come into the fold. While people love exploring water bodies, what’s missing is sensitivity towards sustainable travel, and through this event we have tried to build that.
“This three days Leave-No-Trace paddling event was an eye opener for the paddlers. On one hand, it was beautiful to paddle on the gorgeous Chaliyar, but on the other it was disheartening to zoom in and see infinite number of trees covered in blue, white, yellow plastic, looking like monsters. The plastic problem is real, and we humans need to accept what we are doing to the planet. And all the participants have taken home this realisation” says Kaushiq Kodithodika, Founder, Jellyfish Watersports.
From beginners to non-swimmers to well established water sports enthusiasts. Not just that, from 8 yrs to 70 yrs, we had them all. For those on the water for the first time, kayak lessons were offered on the first day to prepare them for the adventure. It was amazing to watch people from all age groups and different walks of life paddle together joining the Global Climate Strike, by spending three days in the water, cleaning up the river and raising their voice against plastic pollution and climate change. Apart from the exciting journey on the water, the campsite was the perfect place to unwind and bond with fellow paddlers. Also, the participants got a peek into the culture through authentic Kerala delicacies and local tribal music.