Rejuvenation of Tamirabharani wetlands to commence today

Nainarkulam tank in Tirunelveli remains covered by water hyacinth.   | Photo Credit: A_SHAIKMOHIDEEN;A_SHAIKMOHIDEEN

Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC), Manimutharu, with the participation of students, volunteers and various organisations, has planned to rejuvenate the wetlands of Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts.

The first programme of the series will be launched in Nainarkulam tank in Tirunelveli on Wednesday. According to M. Mathivanan, coordinator, Tamirabarani Wetland Rejuvenation Programme, the plains of Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi that lie in a semi-arid landscape are shadowed by Agasthyamalai mountains of the Western Ghats and the area receives between 700 mm and 1,000 mm of annual rainfall, most of which is during north-east monsoon between October and December.

He said the mountain range, with its dense forests, captured rain during south-west and north-east monsoons, and drained it through several rivers such as Ramanadhi, Gadananadhi, Tamirabarani, Manimuthar, Pachchaiyar, Nambiyar and Chittar. These rivers and their tributaries fed a network of canals and tanks that made the region the ‘rice bowl’ of south Tamil Nadu.

There were 2,518 tanks in Tamirabarani basin, and 1,221 of them were systemised and 1,297 non-systemised. Nearly 1.30 lakh acres of land was getting irrigated through these tanks, he noted.

These wetlands played an important role in improving water quality, recharging groundwater, protecting human habitations from floods and erosion and providing water. These tanks were also rich with plants, fish and other animals for human consumption and offered opportunities for recreation like fishing, boating and photography.

The wetlands in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts faced serious threats such as sewage from human habitations, fertilizer and pesticide run-off from agricultural fields and pollution from industries.

These threats also led to spread of invasive plants like water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and bush morning glory (Ipomea fistulosa) in the wetlands, reducing habitat suitability for aquatic fauna.

“To mark World Water Day (March 22), the wetland rejuvenation programme will be organised at Nainarkulam in Tirunelveli on Wednesday. Around 200 NSS volunteers from M.D.T. Hindu College, St. John’s College, Sadakathullah Appa College and A.K.Y. Polytechnic College will be involved in the cleaning activity. It is jointly organised by the ACCC, Nellai Nature Club and Rotary Club, with the guidance of Public Works Department,” said Mr. Mathivanan.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 10:24:12 AM |

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