In the wake of aquatic life extinction, the southern state of Kerala boasts a unique cemetery at the Chaliyar river and Beypore beach intersection in Kozhikode. Interestingly, the cemetery is not dedicated to humans but to marine species which are slowly disappearing due to plastic pollution.
The Cemetery opened its gates on 4th December, on occasion of World Wildlife Conservation Day, with an important message: Our world is dying.
"'It's just one bottle,' said 7.8 billion people," is how climate change activist Aakash Ranison addresses the problem of individual accountability to environment.
This 'Marine Cemetery' consists of 9 gravestones marked by iron frame and plastic-body tombstones with the names of the soon-to-be-extinct or critically endangered aquatic life engraved on them. The 4 x 3 feet gravestones were designed by Ranison.
The aquatic species of Parrotfish, Leatherback turtles, Eagle Rays, Sawfish, Dugong, Zebra shark, Hammerhead shark, and Miss Kerala have been marked as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
It is believed that water and plastic pollution along with overexploitation and climate change have caused the extinction of 15 marine species, and currently threaten the lives of 700 more.
The cemetery took Ranison and his team 24 days to build. However, each day they had to come up with new modifications to deal with the plastic that continued to stay there despite the harsh sun, gusts and the vicinity of water. “We couldn’t risk it going back in,” said Ranison.
"When our roads have potholes, the first to complain would be the motorists. The same rhetoric applies to our water bodies. Kerala is known for its scenic rivers and tourism industry based on our water bodies, but these same water bodies are littered with plastic," explains Kaushiq Kodithodi, founder of Jellyfish Watersports.
Apparently, the cemetery itself is movable in nature as it is built on a platform after which its foundations were placed into the earth. "We've gotten requests from Cochin and other places to put it on display there,” added Jellyfish Watersports' brand strategist, Tarun Gupta.
Amidst all victims of plastic pollution, marine life has been hit the hardest. The Marine Cemetery, built using more than 200 single-use plastic bottles, pays tribute to eight critically endangered marine species and offers a special memorial to them.
(With ANI Inputs)