An umbrella gathering organized to highlight environmental issues

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Several residents and youth groups came together for an umbrella rally to raise awareness of a host of environmental issues facing the city, including biodiversity loss and climate change.

A group of women danced to the beat of drums while children and elderly people carried signs and painted umbrellas to highlight the city’s pressing environmental issues, including saving Lake Pulicat.

Benisha B. from Chennai Climate Action Group said that in the context of the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference, it was time for the local issues of the city to be given prominence. “These meetings do not bring solutions to our problems. The Ennore-Manali region, an important ecological hub that houses a huge oil refinery and a coal-fired power plant, has become a pollution hotspot. Beaches are becoming prey to urbanization and this must stop,” she said.

Vandana Viswanath, a climate activist, said it was heartbreaking to see wetlands polluted and decimated by power stations. “As well as disrupting the ecosystem and causing loss of biodiversity, the livelihoods of multitudes of people are greatly affected,” Ms Viswanath said.

Musician TM Krishna said that although young people’s understanding and awareness of environmental issues had increased dramatically, it was important to support these campaigns and keep the momentum going. “What we need to realize is that social justice and environmental change are intertwined,” he added.

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