Chitra V. Ramani

A team from Bangalore University is undertaking the study

The study will cover ecological changes that have occurred over three decades

Bangalore: The Cauvery River basin has undergone a lot of changes over time. With increasing population, encroachment, pollution and various other factors, the river bank vegetation is bound to have changed. Bangalore University’s Department of Environment Science is attempting a study on the changes. R.K. Somashekhar, professor and chairman of the department, told The Hindu that a four-member team from the department is mapping the river bank vegetation. The team members include Mr. Somashekhar, B.C. Nagaraj, K.L. Prakash and Sunil Kumar. This two-year project is being funded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India.

“Under the project, we will be studying the changes that have occurred right from 1980 due to sand mining, encroachment and pollution. We will try to restrict it to 500 metres on either side of the river, from Talacauvery to Hogenekal, which is a distance of around 180 km,” he said. He said that river bank vegetation is very important for the stabilisation of the river system. “The river bank vegetation has undergone many changes over three decades. We will use satellite images to study it. We have already begun work on the project and will submit our recommendations to the Union Government upon completion of the project,” he added.

Second project

The department has taken up another project to check pollution in four locations in the basin. “The four locations polluted by the public had been identified as ‘vulnerable points’ by the MoEF seven years ago. They included K.R. Nagar, Srirangapatna, Kollegal and Nanjangud,” he said.

Prof. Somashekhar said seven years ago, the Centre had directed the State Government to set up waste-treatment plants in these locations and released 50 per cent of the funds required. The other 50 per cent was to be contributed by the State Government. “The work is yet to be completed. We have been monitoring pollution in Kollegal for the past five years,” he said, and added that the Government should act fast before the pollution got out of hand.