KERALA

Greens warn of vanishing wetlands in the city

Large tracts of wetlands have given way for various development projects in Kochi and adjoining areas. If the trend continues, Kochi would become a concrete jungle devoid of wetlands and greenery in the next 50 years, warn ecologists.

A large number of development projects in Kochi have come up on wetlands, including the LNG Terminal at Puthu Vypeen, Kochi metro, NH bypass and Goshree projects, SmartCity and the proposed electronic park at Amballoor, they point out.

Highlighting the risk faced by wetlands at a seminar on Wednesday, jointly organised by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) and the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, C.N. Mohanan, scientist of the Institute for Climate Change Studies, Kottayam, said Kerala lacked proper and scientific demarcation of wetlands.

Though the Vembanad Lake is a Ramsar site, its boundaries have not been specifically notified. It’s also the case with most of the wetlands of the State though wetland surveys are held at intervals. The records available with the local panchayats are relied upon for demarcating them. Even in the case of the wetlands where the contours have been identified, they are rarely notified, he pointed out.

K.K. Ramachandran, a scientist of the National Centre for Earth Science Studies, highlighted the loss of the water spread of Vembanad Lake over the years. The country lacked effective legal framework to protect the wetlands though India was a signatory to Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, he said.

In his address, B. Madhusoodana Kurup, Vice Chancellor, Kufos, said the shrinkage of Vembanad has led to the disappearance of commercially important aquatic species.

K. Padmakumar, Pro Vice Chancellor, M. K. Prasad, environmentalist, V. M. Victor George, K. V. Jayachandran, K. Ranjeet and S.M. Raffi of the university spoke.



A large number of development projects have come up on wetlands in the city, say greens



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