KSBB to restore ecology of the Pampa and the Karamana rivers

The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) is planning a project for the eco-restoration of the heavily polluted Pampa river and Karamana river.

The Pampa restoration project will rely on the Biodiversity Management Committees in 35 panchayats and one municipality to take up various activities.

The Pandanad and Mannar grama panchayats in Alappuzha district and Koyipuram grama panchayat in Pathanamthitta district have been identified for the pilot project.

Public participation

Chairman, KSBB, Oommen V. Oommen said the BMCs and panchayats would ensure public participation in the programme.

The board would convene a meeting of representatives from all the 36 local bodies to discuss the activities to be taken up.

K.P. Laladhas, member secretary, KSBB, said the project would cover riparian zone extending up to 20 metres from the river on either banks.

It involved protection of the riparian and aquatic biodiversity and enhancing the water-holding capacity of the zone.

It also sought to maintain the water flow in the river by clearing obstacles.

“Another thrust area is on blocking pollution at source,” he said. “Mangroves will be planted to curb pollution in the Vembanad lake into which the Pampa drains.”

The KSBB would try to persuade the local bodies to ban sand-mining and launch a massive awareness campaign highlighting the need to preserve the ecology, he said. The board will support the activities of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) for cleaning up the Karamana river in Thiruvananthapuram. “Our plan is to take up programmes for protection of biodiversity in association with local bodies, starting with the pilot phase covering a one-km stretch of the river from Myladikadavu to Iranimuttom. People’s committees will be set up on either banks to green them and conserve the vegetation,” Dr. Laladhas said.

The restoration of both the rivers will be launched this year using Plan funds.

The KSBB is simultaneously going ahead with a programme to restore and conserve ponds and tanks in urban areas. It has completed the restoration of four ponds at Pattom, Paruthippara, Nalanchira, and Poojappura in Thiruvananthapuram. “The waterbodies have been cleared of silt and waste, the sidewalls repaired and the banks beautified. The improvement in water quality is reflected in the teeming aquatic life. Residents’ associations and nature clubs have been roped in to maintain the environment,” Dr. Oommen says.

The KSBB is working on the restoration of three more ponds and has identified another seven.