KERALA

Aid for management plan for wetlands likely

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 24. Kerala would get assistance from the Centre or international agencies for implementation of a management plan for the Vembanad-Kol Wetlands.

The proposal for assistance is now before the National Wetlands Committee, which may decide on appropriate funding for implementation of the plan, the Director of the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM-Kozhikode), E. J. James, told The Hindu, today.

The management plan, prepared by the CWRDM, envisages the protection of the wetlands as well as the ten rivers draining into them. There will be proper monitoring and regulation of the reservoirs along the rivers on the basis of an innovative operation plan. The idea is to ensure sufficient flow of water into the wetlands and the estuary to maintain their health.

As much of the pollutants come from the drainage basin, steps would be taken to treat them at source. Indiscriminate discharge of municipal wastes and chemical effluents would be checked.

In view of the development of large-scale tourism along the backwaters, steps will be needed to maintain the quality of the backwaters. "No tourist would come if the water quality deteriorates," notes Dr. James. Already, there is the problem of high level of bacterial contamination (as indicated by high E. coli count) in backwaters near Alappuzha.

The wetlands of Ashtamudi, Sasthamkotta and Vembanad had earlier been included among sites to be conserved world wide under the Ramsar Convention. The Convention advocated conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world.

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