Save Pallikaranai wetland from Dredging
Save Pallikaranai wetland from Dredging
PALLIKARANAI WETLANDS AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE:
Pallikaranai wetlands is a freshwater marsh in the city of Chennai, India. It is situated adjacent to the Bay of Bengal, about 20 kilometers (12 mi) south of the city center (6 km from Velachery on the north, 7.5km from East Coast road on the east) and has an area of about 695.85 hectares (originally 7000 hectares before encroachment). It is also the only surviving wetland ecosystem of the city. It contains heterogeneous ecosystem of the marshland, supports about 337 species of floras and faunas-several rare or endangered and threatened species, and acts as a forage and breeding ground for thousands of migratory birds (in a total of 178 species of birds, over 70 of them are migratory) from various places within and outside the country. The number of bird species sighted in the wetland is significantly higher than the number at Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary.
It plays a very important role in Chennai’s hydrology because the wetland acts like a sponge, meaning, it soaks up water during peak rainfall and releases it slowly during dry spells. The main reason to this phenomenon is its natural landform. Pallikaranai is a low-lying area covered with reed-beds and collects excess run-off water from 31 different water bodies in the nearby areas like Siruseri, Velachery and Navalur in the monsoon and holds them together to be released into the Oggiyam Madavu channel and into the Buckingham Canal, which in turn discharges into the Kovalam estuary.
EVER DECREASING LANDMASS
After an aerial survey of the area during floods of 2005, Late Ms. Jayalalithaa as then chief minister of Tamil Nadu declared the Pallikaranai marsh a protected area.
This is why at least 10% of the original 7000 hectares (in 1965 included the present-day residential areas like Perungudi, Siruseri, Pallikaranai, Madipakkam, Taramani and Velachery) still survive. Due to major construction activities like building of National Institute of Ocean Technology, the Centre of Wind Energy Technology, Major multi-specialty hospitals, colleges, IT parks and restaurants, the wetlands have shrunken to its present-day size. The 200 feet Radial road connecting Velachery to Oggiyamduraipakkam divided the wetlands into two parts disrupting its ecosystem and the dumping of wastes in a 250 acres landfill in the protected ecosystem is adding fuel to the fire.
WHY IS DREDGING OF PALLIKARANAI NOT THE RIGHT SOLUTION?
· Hon. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on his visit to the area on Monday 30th November 2020 said a permanent solution to water logging will be possible only when estuary is widened from its existing 30 meters to 100 meters.
· The greater Chennai corporation’s proposal to dredge the marsh, Perumbakkam, Kovalam creek and Oggiyam Madavu or build underground canals as a solution to the inundation of the nearby residential areas in and around Velachery will not be an expedient solution, because the area will become vulnerable to flooding during storm surges.
· Also Dredging will carry other risks like seawater intrusion says hydrologists.
· The clay bed of the marsh keeps the saline water brought in with the high tide during summer from percolating into the aquifers. Dredging will increase the salinity in the groundwater table in nearby areas.
· Ornithologists said that the proposal to create a channel from north to south in the marsh will further destroy the unique eco-system. And deepening the water body will drive the birds out from nesting.
OUR REQUEST TO THE CORRESPONDING AUTHORITIES.
We request the Corresponding authorities mentioned above to revoke the plan of dredging the already derelict marshland and plan a new proposal without disturbing the ecosystem of the area, after thoroughly consulting experts from various fields in the relation to the aforementioned problem.
~~~~~~~~~~~THANK YOU ~~~~~~~~~~~