Alappuzha: India may not have the world's best beaches going by the looks of them, yet Kerala can take pride in owning the cleanest of country's sandy stretches. A recent study by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has found that beaches along the slender southern state fare better when it comes to pollution, which is much higher among their counterparts along the rest of the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.
Even so, some of Kerala's beaches do bring shame to state's age-old reputation in cleanliness. Of its 21 listed by Chennai-headquartered CMRFRI, 16 are clean while the rest are not up to the mark. The conclusions are based on a study that takes into account presence of plastic, thermocol, footwear, bulbs, parts of fishing-nets, and electronic waste on each beach.
The three-decade-old CMFRI, which is a nodal agency under the Union ministry of agriculture, has ranked these Kerala beaches on top of its list: Pozhikara, Thirumullavaram (Kollam district), Mullur, Kovalam, Pallithura, Anchthengu, Edava (Thiruvananthapuram), Nattika, Thalikkulam, Anchangadi (Thrissur), Puthuponnani, Ponnani, Eralam (Malappuram), Elathur (Kozhikode) and Ettikulam (Kannur).
The second-cleanest are Poovar, Pulluvila, Sankhumukham, Perumathura (Thiruvananthapuram), Kollam beach, Arattupuzha, Pallana, Purakkad, Alappuzha, Mararikulam, Andhakaranazhi, Pallithode (Alappuzha), Puthvype, Cherai (Ernakulam), Kaipamangalam, Chavakkad, Andathode (Thrissur), Kuttayi, Unniyal (Malappuram), Chaliyam, Gotheeswaram, Kozhikode South, Poyilkadavu, Kudikkal, Chombala (Kozhikode), Makuttam, Kannur beach (Kannur), Hosdurg, Kanhangad, Kasargod Light House and Kumbala (Kasargod).
The worst-kept Kerala beach, going by the pollution level, is Anangadi in Malappuram. Coming next in order are Kochi, Fort Kochi (Ernakulam) and Konnad (Kozhikode) followed by Thrikkannad and Kizhur (Kasargod).
The CMFRI study found Tamil Nadu beaches overall well-kept, while those in Karnataka were largely poor. Worst-maintained beaches are in the states of Gujarat, Goa, and Andhra Pradesh besides the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.