Sunday, August 26, 2007

Marshlands under threat

A recent study published in THE HINDU suggests the effects of damage to the marshlands in Pallikaranai, Chennai due to garbage dumping and rapid real estate activity that violate Government building norms. The environmental effects range from devastating floods in the future to production of poisonous gases like methane.

To give a bit of background, Pallikaranai marsh is one of India's largest fresh water wetlands that helps in charging the aquifers of the region. It is also home to a large number of bird, fish, reptile and insect species. It is indeed very disturbing to see the sad plight of such great natural treasures in and around Chennai. Though blessed with such amazing environmental gems unlike any other city, these have always been under continuous stress due to rapid urbanization and industrialization.

There has to be some kind of a revolution in environmental awareness, to prevent the further damage of such pristine natural systems. Schools can be the best place to begin such a movement. They can involve the children to participate in environmental group activities that focus on protecting and preserving them.

To start with, maybe schools can offer a field trip every month to various places with a fragile eco-system and get them to submit project reports on that. Several teams can work on different locations and each team can concentrate on preservation effects of their assigned area. That way, children can learn the importance of conservation and also get exposure to dealing with real life issues. Such topics of social awareness can be included as a part of mainstream curriculum.

As an ending note, what if a fence was built around the marsh with a cobble-stoned walkway amidst lot of greenery and fountains... say wishful thinking !! This would be among the biggest natural parks in any city and would probably give New York City's Central Park a run for money.


Sursangram said...

Bhadri you're right... I fail to understand why teachers of some of the elite schools in the city, who take the effort go with their students to far off places, fail to show the wonders at their doorstep, like Pallikaranai for instance...
May be they are ingnorant that Pallikaranai Marsh is a home for 61 species of aquatic plants, 46 species of fishes, birds 106 species, 7 species of butterflies, 21 species reptiles and also the most common exotic floating vegetation—water hyacinth aplenty.


Weekend Warrior said...

Exactly Sursangram. Thanks for the comments.

sharol said...

I recently went to the lake to see some birds but was driven away by the unbearable stench and the heavy smoke due to garbage burning.

I must have spent barely 15 minutes there and by that time I had developed a headache,my throat was itching and eyes were burning.

I feel so sad that the beautiful lake is being destroyed and quality of life is being compromised for people living in the area.

I love green said...

I live nearby pallikaani. Daily while going office I will cross the swamp. It will fill me with mixed feeling. I am able to see the natures beauty and humans ugliness on same place. I want to do some thing. Most of the swamp area is going under occupation, government also one of that. How can we stop this, and bring back the good life to this great place.