East Coast’s Little Guardian Mermaid Thaaragai
Eight year old Thaaragai Aarathana is fondly called the Little Mermaid of Chennai’s East Coast. The class II student is passionate about preventing plastics entering the sea and saving marine lives. The school girl, a swimmer has collected more than 600 KG of plastic from the shore and under water.
Recently she set a world record, swimming 19 KM in the Bay of Bengal, from Kovalam to Neelangarai outside Chennai in 6 hours 16 minutes, to raise awareness on her causes. Assist World Records has acknowledged this.
“The plastic we put at our homes, on the roads get washed to the rivers after rains and get into the sea. I would become a diving instructor like my dad and clean up the sea removing plastics” Thaaragai told tellmystory.in
Thaaragai drew inspiration from her well known scuba diving instructor father S B Aravind who says he put her in waters on the third day after birth. “At nine months after birth, she floated naturally and in two and a half years she swam naturally” says Aravind, who denies the little girl is being pressured to perform. “She’s addicted to cleaning up the sea and shores. She’s so interested about taking care of the environment. She has good stamina as she does serious practice. We just tell her try your best.”
Thaaragai already does scuba diving upto 8 metres deep in the ocean. She wants to work to protect Dugong or sea cow, an endangered marine species. “I’ve chosen Dugong because its one of the species that’s vanishing. There are less than 150 of them in India. Like me everyone can choose a species and spend time for it. It can even be a bird or a trees”.
She accompanies her dad. When asked what’s her dream, “My dream is there should not be plastic in the ocean. I clean as much I can. You also clean it up. If only the environment is safe we can be safe, so we should not use plastics”
Thaaragai does home schooling. Her mother Tharunsri is a make up artist.
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