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.