Published: 04th December 2019
This Kozhikode beach cemetry has tombstones made of plastic dedicated to endangered marine species
The installations in this marine cemetery are made out of single-use plastic bottles picked up from water bodies
A single stretch of land, protruding into the sea in the Kozhikode Beypore beach now has a cemetery. A usual taphophile or a ghost may not want to go there, but it surely will be haunted by the ghosts of climatic catastrophe. A closer look at the tombstones may surprise you, but it isn't just the fact that they're unconventionally tall. They're all made of single-use plastic bottles!
Interesting enough, all of these bottles are picked up from the Chaliyar River and the Beypore beach. The tombstones are dedicated to nine marine species that are critically endangered, owing to pollution and climate change.
The marine cemetery is an initiative by Jellyfish Watersports, an adventure sports company based out of Kozhikode and Aakash Ranison, who is an environmentalist and a travelpreneur. "It took us around 25 days to come up with these installations. Eight of them are 4-feet-tall and the one in the centre is six-feet-tall. The tallest one is dedicated to the fish Denison Barb, which is popularly known as Miss Kerala," says Aakash. The other tombstones are dedicated to the Sawfish, Zebra shark, Parrotfish, Leatherback turtle, Eagle Ray, Dugong, Hammerhead shark and Sea Horse respectively.
Aakash says that the installations are made out of 2,000 single-use plastic bottles that a group of paddlers and volunteers have picked up from the water bodies and the beach. "Jellyfish has a paddling club. This year, around 100 of us paddled for around 68 km in Chaliyar. This was a completely plastic-free event. Along with paddling, we also picked up plastic bottles that were disposed of in the river," he says.
The next set of bottles were collected during a cleanup drive that Jellyfish conducted on the beach. "We'd collected 800 kg of solid waste which was sent to the municipality. These bottles, along with the bottles that we picked up from the river were used to create these installations. This will be a reminder to the people around us about how their deeds are contributing to the environment and its inhabitants," says Aakash.
"The paddlers of our club have been collecting plastic wastes from the water bodies for the past five years," says Kaushiq Kodithodika, founder, Jellyfish Watersports. "This year, we wanted to do something different with these bottles. After consulting with a lot of artists and marine biologists, we finally came up with the idea of creating the cemetery. The Kozhikode Collector Seeram Sambasiva Rao and Port Officer, Beypore, Captain Ashwini Prathap were really supportive and let us use the space," he says. "The project was possible through the support of the Clean Beach Mission by the District administration, Beypore port department and coastguards," he adds.
The cemetery was inaugurated by the collector on December 4, which is also World Wildlife Conservation Day. "Right now, we're using these tombstones to remind people about the state of the earth. We really hope to inspire others to give up the use of single-use plastic," Kaushiq signs off.