Greens see flaw in lake-protection work

While a geo-textiles protection to the banks of a water body is considered a true environment-friendly initiative, greens have expressed reservations about the manner in which it is being done at the Sasthamcotta freshwater lake.

Activists of the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP), who studied the areas of the lake already covered by the geo-textiles protection, feel that such a protection will do more harm than good to the lake in the long run.

The geo-textile protection programme is being carried out under the Mahatma Gandhi Nation Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

The KSSP activists point out that the banks of the lake are a natural habitat for about 110 species of grass and shrubs and almost 21 species of trees.

The MGNREGS workers are completely clearing this naturally growing vegetation to carry out the programme. Moreover, the areas covered by the geo-textile blanket are planted with Ramacham (vettiver).

Though a medicinal herb, it should not be allowed to totally replace the naturally growing vegetation around the lake.

Being an aromatic plant, the Ramacham plants on reaching maturity will invite illegal harvesting. This means, uprooting the herbs to get its medicinally rich roots. That will not only destroy the geo-textile protection to the lake but also loosen the soil resulting in erosion. The vettiver planting should be stopped and instead the authorities should plant the geo-textiles covered portions with the area’s naturally growing vegetation.

Besides taking up the issue directly with the Sasthamcotta grama panchayat authorities, the KSSP will petition the Chief Minister and the District Collector in this connection.

Programme being carried out under MGNREGS

Natural vegetation being cleared for the programme