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Watch: Why is the city of Chennai making this impassioned appeal to be saved?

Hint: With the city’s wetlands in a state of neglect, the 2015 deluge may repeat itself.

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In this powerful video by Put Chutney, Chennai has a message for its residents. After a frantic chase, standing amidst tall electric towers in the fly-ash ridden tracts of Ennore in North Chennai, a lone man voices the city’s thoughts.

“2015 saw a huge flood. Immediately the news said, ‘Chennai has sunk! Chennai has sunk!’ Did I sink it? Chennai was sunk by you!”

In December 2015, the city was left reeling under the impact of a devastating flood, after facing the heaviest rainfall in a hundred years. Around 347 flood-related deaths were reported over a span of two months. With Chennai’s lakes and water bodies encroached upon by public sector industries and private housing developments, the natural drainage system of the city had been choked. Despite the fact that the city had three major rivers to carry out the excess floodwater, the city lay submerged for several days.

The biggest river is the Kosasthalaiyar, which flows through Ennore, the northern industrial hub of Chennai. This river is four times larger than the Adyar and the Cooum , and has faced heavy encroachments. The Ennore Creek, a swampy backwater that joins the Kosasthalaiyar river in the north and the Buckingham canal in the south, is now lined with acres of flyash instead of mangroves. Around 1000 acres of wetlands have been lost to thermal power plants and ports in the vicinity. Now, even average rainfall could potentially sink the city.

Finally, the city is asking to be saved.

“To save what little is left of Chennai, to save the lives of your family, to prevent us from sinking again, let’s save Ennore.”

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