Awareness of need for growing mangrove plants increased in Kanyakumari district

NGOs have raised saplings on the banks of Rajakkamangalam estuary

Nagercoil: Awareness among the fishermen community of the need for growing mangrove plants has gained momentum in the coastal areas of the district after tsunami devastated the entire coastal environment in Kanyakumari district.

Indeed it has come as boon to them, as its root held the boulders intact, wherever the Government has constructed anti-sea erosion walls or groins to prevent the sea erosion.

A cross section of the tsunami-affected people in the coastal villages of the district said that that the district administration in co-operation with various non-governmental organisations came forward to raise mangrove plants in estuaries in the coastal areas of the district after tsunami, because in few places where there were mangroves, the damage caused by the tsunami was very low throughout the State when compared to other coastal areas.

Besides raising 50,000 mangrove plants to the length of 8 to 10 km in Manakudi estuary, non-governmental organisations in consultation with various environmentalists have raised saplings (mangroves) on the banks of Rajakkamangalam estuary to the length of 2 km and around the ponds within the premises of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University’s Marine Centre for Biotechnology in Rajakkamangalam.

Mangroves in Kanyakumari district, especially in Manakudy and Rajakkamangalam estuaries acted as a strong barrier to the pillaging effects of the giant waves. Mangrove plantation, wherever it was possible in the coastal areas of the district, was one of the programmes after tsunami hit the entire coast among several other programmes were developed for preventing and managing nature’s fury.

Mangroves protected the seacoasts, estuaries from heavy wind and storms and their roots withheld the silt and the clayey soil (Manavalakurichy) thus preventing soil erosion.

The mangrove forests also helped in the maintenance of bio-diversity. Migratory birds like pelicans, painted storks, cormorants, darters, cranes and indigenous storks visited the estuaries and roosted in the mangroves. Bird droppings enriched the water body and it could be seen in the catch of fish, prawns and more than 5,000 kg of white prawns were harvested by the fishermen in and around Manakudi in a year.

The district administration in co-operation with various agencies had been decided to raise mangrove forests in Eraiyammanthurai estuary and on the banks of Anantha Victoria Marthanda Varma channel near Manavalakurich, where one could see lot of sand dunes.

From THE HINDU

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