Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Degrading Situation of Vembanad Lake

The slender walkways which is very much occupied by those newly structured resorts around the lakes is walked by the women and the children and while carrying their babies around the hips those innocent eyes of a women stares at their fisherman as they light candles and place them perfectly at the wide leaves of Plantain and draws them over the water to celebrate an occasion of World Wetlands Day. 

Vembanad Lake which is considered as one of the most important lakes that supports the base of the ecosystem and drainage area of the three divisions of Kerala sprawls over an area of 200 square kilometer and measures the length of around 96 km.

Traveler must understand that the quest of splendid backwaters of Kerala is complimented by the silent flow of Vembanad as its tranquil flow supports and conserve the rich biodiversity of Kerala under the inter government Ramsar convention.

Its eternal flow is not just designated to enamel the course of nature but its very source recharges coastal aquifers, drives out the pollutants essentials and sedates the entire population that lives around the brilliance of Vembanad.

Those magical backwaters which are accompanied by lush green environment, luminous marine life and fringes of coconut palms relates the composite networks of inland flowing sea water, lagoons, marshes, lakes, rivers and canals that runs down to meet with an eternal flow of Arabian sea.

The waterways you will witness here speaks the glory of ancient times as those walks were the primary infield of the local and international traders but now its lying helpless and silent and only few houseboats cultivates the seeds of tourism which indeed carries the course of pollution.

If you will look at the core of Vembanad than it depicts discontentment as those silent waves hardly remembers the parallels of time. Within an estuary of the eastern bank close to Muhamma one of the houseboat operators named Dilip Kumar said everything is fine we are still scooping prawn from the shore of the lake.

Co-ordinator of Bangalore-based ATREE’s T.D Jojo said that rules on bio-toilet and waste disposal should be checked and monitored which has not been done yet.

To understand the problem first we need to understand the cause which started during the time of 1834 when retrieval of Bed Lake was put into picture to encourage paddy cultivation. During the time of independence people started exploiting the resource to meet their growing demands and by the end of 1984, magnanimous area of land surrounding the lake was exploited which resulted in shrink of lagoon depth by approximately 50% and the same incident caused drainage capacity which got shrink from 2.45 cubic km to just 0.6 cubic km.

Fisherman Ashoka while sharing his words said that before 8 years I used to collect huge numbers of calms within 2 or three hours but at present scenario I have to struggle whole day to collect the sufficient amount of calms. Traveler must understand today they have to search for lake bed to locate clams but there was a time when they used to dive in to scoop it out.

The declining course of Vembanad started when the Thanneermukkom barrage was established during the call of 1975. Barrage allowed local to cultivate paddy within the recovered site of the lake to do the same the shut the lines of Kuttanad from mid-December to end-March. Although this situation is causing problem to fisherman as they want the barrage to remain open to preserve fish breeding.
 Explaining the cause of barrage scientist Jojo explained that Barrage would pose a threat as eggs of the prawns within an estuary along with the baby shrimps are flushed forward by the inward force of the lake with the tidal sea waters. But the barrage has hampered those flows which in turn results in eggs and shrimps getting trapped.
A TREE with its noble cause has step up to help the villagers and they have ensured their plans in accordance to 13 lake protection forums. They are training local people to check the quality of water and to support the initiative 13 fish sanctuaries have come along to set up bamboo poles in circle within the tree branches in between. This process have helped local fishermen and fish to protect the lakes and during this course 13 lake protection forums have taken a direct hand to check the acidity level,
  temperature and salinity of water.

They along with A TREE are checking the ratios of dissolved oxygen and total dissolved of solids within the lake to preserve the site.  With this initiative fisherman are now empowered with information which shows positive results.

K.M. Poovu, president of the Kuttanad Samyukta Samiti, said that now we have data and information to save fisherman and fish. The joint forums of farmers and fisherman have helped the people to negotiate with the situation and they have found a middle path to protect both barrage and seawater says farmer Muralidharan of the KSS.

Addressing the matter district collector N. Padmakumar said that our primary prospect is paddy cultivation and if you could see the ratio of farmer and fisherman than it is 10:1. He added by saying recently protest was raised by the locals for violating the course of barrage but such situation won’t help the course of breeding.

Talking about the perennials of Vembanad than it is still not free from chemical offsets which are carried by paddy fields, houseboat, over fishing and sand mining. What’s more interesting and astounding is each and every culprit is trying to escape the situation and blaming each other rather than working together to save the course.

While in Kainakary village which is located at a distance of around of 30 km from the Kuttanadu the president of the panchayat Sudhimotu spoke about lack of drinking water. Although river Pamba slows within the circle but the surrounding pollution have really made the source unhygienic.

Speaking in context of ongoing problem district collector sounded helpless and said I don’t have a magic wand the government should come up with an interest to save the ecological hub of Vembanad.


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