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.


Climate change and health are interconnected

Different arguments are made on different platforms

“With global warming and climactic changes, coastal regions are likely to be affected more”

“Civic body is trying to install solar lights and encouraging planting of more saplings”

CHENNAI: As we get ready to turn the decade, it is obvious that whatever lifestyle modifications we make, it is important to factor in climate change and its impact on health.

The world has already taken cognisance of the impact of climate change on health, but the different arguments are made on different platforms and are yet to come together forcefully enough to influence policy.

Speaking at the K. S. Sanjivi Memorial Lecture in the city recently, K. Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India, stressed the need for public health to be wholistic. “If we ignore other realities such as climate change and ignore the interconnectedness, again we will be taking a limited perspective,” he said.

Dr. Reddy used an example to highlight the interconnectedness. Cardiologists from the WHO recommend a dietary modification to reduce red meat consumption; the World Cancer Report says the same thing as it causes cancers of the digestive tract; and climate change proponents have been calling for reduction of livestock population. “During pandemics we run helter-skelter, looking for vaccines. We don’t question why over the last 30 years, there has been a new infectious disease outbreak every year, 60 per cent of them zoonotic. This is not because animals have suddenly turned virulent. It is because large animals are being bred in captivity in pathetic conditions, putting them in a position to transmit viruses that mutate easily. Then, it is also necessary to grain feed them, leading to deforestation, and thereon to food insecurity, cancer, cardiovascular diseases. This is the larger picture,” Dr. Reddy said.

Again, at a meeting held more recently at Kilpauk Medical College, there emerged more proof that the establishment was indeed worrying about the impact of climate change on health.

Corporation Health Officer P. Kuganantham said, “With global warming and climactic changes, coastal regions are likely to be affected more. With water levels predicted to rise, salinity of drinking water will also increase and directly impact on the health of the people. We are talking about hypertension and cardiac illnesses, here,” he added. But what is really bothering him is that the change of weather is likely to cause the proliferation of more numbers of vectors and rodents that are primarily disease carrying agents. “The infection they spread will be different, organisms will mutate, and our drugs may not work anymore,” Dr. Kuganantham explained.

Therefore, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases would be a great cause for concern for healthcare providers and policy makers. He stresses as Dr. Reddy does on addressing climate change and public health from the same platform.

“In fact, WHO even says that in future, policy makers and planners should keep public health experts at hand while developing strategies,” Dr. Kuganantham said. Going by what Mayor M.Subramaniam claimed, it seems that cognisant changes are afoot in the Corporation area. According to him, the civic body is trying to install solar lights wherever possible, and encouraging planting of more saplings to create green spaces and cyclist tracks.

Ramya Kannan From THE HINDU

Tirunelveli: 100 saplings planted on TVMCH premises

For global warming awareness

The noble exercise was commenced some time ago in various parts of the district.

TIRUNELVELI: In an attempt to create awareness among the public of global warming and appeal to every citizen to plant as many trees to save the planet earth, the All India Overseas Bank Employees Union, Isha Foundation and Rotary Club of Tirunelveli Rural planted 100 saplings on the Tirunelveli Medical College premises on Sunday.

After the Isha Foundation decided to plant 20,000 tree saplings in association with the AIOBEU in various parts of Tirunelveli district during this year, the noble exercise was commenced some time ago.

As part of this ongoing programme, Senior Regional Manager of Indian Overseas Bank, Tirunelveli Region A. Rashid Khan planted a sapling on the TVMCH premises to mark the planting of 100 saplings on the campus of the hospital, which is catering to the needs of the poor patients from Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Tuticorin districts.

Tree guards erected around saplings

Immediately, ‘tree guards’ were also erected around the saplings to save the young plants from being destroyed by the frequently invading cattle.

A good number of doctors from TVMCH and house surgeons participated.


Nilgiris: We are with you, say planters

Udhagamandalam: When problems and challenges confront the district the planting community will not be found wanting, observed the Chairman, Nilgiri Planters Association (NPA), Jiten Pareek, while extending a helping hand to about 200 flood- and landslide-affected persons housed in a relief camp at Yellanhalli near Coonoor on Monday.

He expressed concern over the enormous damage caused by the natural calamity. The managements and workers of the member estates of the NPA expressed their sympathies to the affected families, he said. By way of saying, “we are with you,” relief materials in the form of weather protectives had been given to some of the affected persons, Mr. Pareek added.


Eco-Tourism: Plant more trees in mining areas, appeals Patil

PANAJI: President Pratibha Patil on Monday called for conserving and preserving Goa’s unique natural environment as it promotes eco-tourism, adds to the state’s tourism profile and generates major revenue and employment for the state.

“Goa is renowned for its scenic beauty, its rich architectural heritage, its vibrant culture and its diverse flora and fauna,” she said speaking at a civic reception hosted by the government in her honour at Dona Paula. Stating that many countries have greatly benefited from their forests, she suggested better management and more afforestation in mining areas. “They can be important in generating social, economic and environmental benefits,” she said.

Incidentally, her statement comes in the wake of Goa winning an award for percentage increase in its forest and tree cover, though criticism has been rife about large-scale deforestation due to mining activities. Hailing Goa’s model of comprehensive development, Patil said combining economic growth with social progress, environment protection and cultural advancement had worked well for the state’s progress

From TOI

Chennai: Rainwater receding, but challenges remain

Limitations of infrastructure, particularly stormwater drain network, come to the fore

CHENNAI: Heavy rain for nearly two days, some areas better off, some still under water and residents struggling to come to terms with the aftermath. This sums up the impact of the first major spell of this year’s northeast monsoon in the city.

With the monsoon set to be active for the next few weeks, there are more challenges to be met as the limitations of the infrastructure, particularly the stormwater drain network, came to the fore since the heavy rain began on Friday.

The rainfall during the 24-hour period ending 8.30 a.m. on Sunday was 123.3 mm in Nungambakkam and 132.5 mm in Meenambakkam. But in the next 12 hours the two observatories recorded only 5.8 mm and 6 mm respectively, which proved to be a saving grace.

Steering to safety: Firemen rescuing marooned residents of Vyasarpadi on Sunday.— Photo: M.Vedhan

According to the Meteorology Department, the low-pressure area over Cape Comorin has moved and now lies over Lakshadweep and its neighbourhood. “We can expect a gradual decrease in rain for the time being. On Monday, a few spells of rain or thundershowers are likely in the city,” an official said.

Playing it safe and given the fact that many of the residential areas continue to be inundated, a number of private schools have declared a holiday on Monday.

The areas where roads were waterlogged on Sunday include Ayanavaram, Otteri, Velachery, Karapakkam and Vyasarpadi.

But in most areas, the emphasis was on rescue operations. In areas near Vyasarpadi Jeeva railway station, Fire and Rescue Service personnel used inflatable boats to shift around 200 persons from inundated localities.

Apart from seeking solutions for the inundation, residents questioned the timing of agencies to take up improvement work, such as that on Taramani Link Road. They also blamed the encroachments in canals and water bodies for the situation.

Virugambakkam resident C.V. Krishnan said many in the area worried about flooding of Virugambakkam Canal. “We are waiting and watching with great apprehension as to what will happen now.”

In a sign of things ahead, the Corporation on Sunday transported catamarans to waterlogged areas of west Velachery such as AGS Colony. Fire tenders with inflatable boats have been stationed for 24 hours in 13 places, including Ram Nagar in Velachery, Kargil Nagar in Tiruvottiyur, CTO Colony in Tambaram, Ranjit Street in Kotturpuram, Koyambedu bus terminus, Haddows Road in Egmore and Valluvar Kottam.

Traffic snarls near the Vadapalani and Koyambedu junctions due to the waterlogged roads marred the holiday mood for many. But the residents of Vadapalani, Saligramam and Virugambakkam were relieved to see the receding water level on the roads soon after the rains became intermittent from Sunday morning.

But in Ambattur, water from C.T.H. Road overflowed on to the streets and complaints to the Municipal officials did not elicit any response, said T. Gunaseelan of Varadharajapuram.

C.G. Mercylin, an industrialist in Mogappair, said that several roads in the area were inundated. The Ambattur Municipality had desilted a small portion of stormwater drains on Saturday on Wavin Road but with more rain predicted waterlogged roads in Mogappair Industrial Estate are inevitable, he said.

Despite the culvert below the Kadapa Road in Kolathur, which is the main link between the city and Ambattur, Madhavaram and Retteri, rainwater continues to flood the road. Residents here said they worried about driving after dark as there were no street lights.

Trees fall

Heavy rain on Saturday night also resulted in a spate of incidents in which trees crashed onto cars. A survey of the weak and dead trees would have prevented the accidents, eye witnesses said.

A dead tree fell on a moving car on Cenotaph Road and slowed down traffic for sometime. All four occupants of the vehicle escaped with minor injuries.

In another incident, in Golden Jubilee apartment complex on Padi Kuppam Road, Anna Nagar, a Gulmohar tree fell on a parked car. A tree on 5th Avenue in Anna Nagar was uprooted on Saturday morning. A resident said that had the Corporation pruned the trees before the onset of the monsoon, the 50-year old tree could have been saved.

Water supply

Chennai Metrowater officials said the rainfall in the last 24 hours had brought in inflow into reservoirs enough to supply water more than a fortnight. But, it would take several days of heavy rain before the reservoirs reach their full capacity. The agency has doubled the level of chlorination in water distribution stations.

The agency’s sewage pumping stations are currently taking in an additional load of rainwater along with sewage. In an effort to prevent spread of water-borne diseases, Metrowater has increased chlorination of water from its distribution stations. The agency has made available chlorine tablets in its depots for public use.

Chennai Corporation also distributed 35,533 chlorine tablets in areas such as K.M. Garden, Royapettah, Vyasarpadi, Tondiarpet and Perambur where water had stagnated. One tablet can be used for 20 litres of water. It also undertook patch work on 160 major roads.

Commuters had to contend with autorickshaw drivers who demanded exorbitant rates to carry passengers short stretches.


In Kancheepuram, Collector Santosh K. Misra visited flood-prone areas of Orikkai and Thirukalimedu.

Residents of Orikkai, a hamlet on the southern outskirts, said rainwater had entered their houses, as the inflow into the nearby Orikkai Lake had increased. Mr. Misra directed the village panchayat president and officials to create stormwater drain facility in the area.

(With inputs from R. Sujatha, K. Lakshmi, S. Aishwarya, Ajai Sreevatsan, T. Madhavan, K. Manikandan, Petlee Peter, Deepa H. Ramakrishnan and V. Venkatasubramanian)


Garden city Bangalore? 50,000 trees cut, more to go

BANGALORE: Garden city could soon become concrete city. Bangalore has lost around 50,000 trees in recent years to infrastructure development and nearly 300 more will soon go for the Metro rail project.

Environmentalists and citizens fear that rampant felling could cost the city its ‘green heritage’ tag. Their fear is supported by heaps of logs of axed trees and tree stumps dotting roads across Bangalore.

"It’s sad to see so many trees being axed down in the name of development. I fell in love with Bangalore because of its green cover, but in recent times, trees are fast vanishing from its landscape," septuagenarian Praveen Mehta, a native of Punjab who has been settled here for two decades, told IANS.

"Trees are Bangalore’s famed heritage. Please don’t let them vanish so fast," pleaded Mehta, a former government employee.
As many as 279 more trees will soon be axed down for ‘Namma Metro’ – the upcoming metro rail in central Bangalore, specially near the legislative assembly building Vidhana Soudha and Central College roads.

In the past two to three years alone, Bangalore has lost around 50,000 trees, felled for for developmental activities, states a report of the Environment Support Group (ESG), a Bangalore-based NGO and part of Hasiru Usiru (Greenery is Life), a conglomeration of community organisations.

Hasiru Usiru has been at the forefront to protest the "illogical destruction" of Bangalore’s greenery for developmental works.
"Most of the trees dotting the Vidhana Soudha and Central College areas are as old as 150 years. They are our heritage. It takes years for a tree to grow and cutting them in a few hours in the name of development is not logical," said Vinay Sreenivasa, coordinator of Hasiru Usiru.

The group now plans to send a memorandum to Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) to shelve its project in areas where they have to cut down a large number of trees.

"If our memorandum is not honoured, then we will start our protest," said Sreenivasa.

"It is sad that in spite of so many protests staged by us in the last few months, the government is yet to do anything to save the city’s trees. Bangalore was known for its vast tree cover. Most of the trees felled down in recent times have been part and parcel of Bangalore for over five decades," said Sreenivasa.

According to different environment groups, BMRCL has axed a large number of trees at several places, including the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, considered the city’s green lung.

According to environmentalists, not only has the city’s green beauty been destroyed due to developmental works, but the loss of green cover is also harming the Karnataka capital’s climate.

"Bangalore’s weather is changing fast. Bangalore is no more pleasant as it was earlier. If trees continue to be chopped off rapidly, the city’s average temperature will rise by two-three degrees Celsius in the coming years," said environmentalist Yellappa Reddy.