How Kayakers Cleaned Up 500 Kgs Of Waste From A Kerala River

How Kayakers Cleaned Up 500 Kgs Of Waste From A Kerala River
The Other Side

Kayaking has long been a water sport that we indulged in as part of a vacation or adventure camps, but only recently have we considered its potential for promoting eco-tourism as well as sustainable and clean living. How? ‘Let’s Kayak for a Cause’ is the aim and motto of a diverse group of kayakers that participate in the recurring Chaliyar River Challenge in Kerala. This club of people has maneuvered more than 300 national and international volunteers over the past 3 years in the spirit of cleaning up our rivers through water sports.

Organised by the Clean Rivers Initiative (CRI), the Chaliyar River Challenge 2017 was a multi-day paddling event that’s “part music festival, and part environmental rally” that seeks to draw the attention of paddlers, nature lovers and citizens alike to raise both funds and awareness regarding the need to clean up our rivers by engaging the community. The volunteers clean up the river whilst kayaking, unearthing beer bottles, shoes and heaps of plastic bags, purifying the waters of the exploitation by the companies that were shut down after their effluents poisoned the Chaliyar.

This year, partnering with water sports company Jellyfish, 120 volunteers came together and over three days and 68 kilometres managed to clean up close to 500 kilograms of waste!

The founders are optimistic as they write that the younger generation is more aware of the need of sustainable living and waste management, and the damage we have already done to our natural surroundings. “We need to keep them on that path. At most stops along the river challenge we meet with local kids and tell them about our journey. The first step is awareness. The second step is making it aspirational. And the people see us and they want to do their bit,” they write.

For more information and to join the efforts of Clean Rivers Initiative you can contact them at

Feature image courtesy of The Other Side

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