THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: THE coastal waters of Thiruvananthapuram up to a depth of 18 metres from the shoreline, are being turned into a garbage dump of chilling proportions, according to a survey conducted by a local coastal conservation group.
Video footage taken by the Friends of Marine Life (FML) shows huge amounts of plastic waste trapped in underwater reefs and the seabed, threatening the thriving marine ecosystem. Armed with the shocking footage which includes mounds of garbage trapped in fishermen’s nets, they have demanded that the government should ensure that the beaches and coastal waters are not allowed to become a dump yard for wastes generated in the capital city.
‘’There is now a growing demand to flow off the garbage trapped in the canals and other water bodies into the sea. This is dangerous and should not be allowed. The LDF Government had announced a mission to rid the beaches of Kerala of garbage. It should ensure that the sea is not turned into a dump yard,’’ FML convener and marine researcher Robert Panipilla said. ‘’We collected visuals over the past three years and the findings are shocking. The garbage, which we found up to a depth of 18 metres, is slowly killing off the marine ecosystem,’’ he said.
Nets used by fishermen to trap lobster, crab and sole fish (Manthal) regularly fish up garbage, including plastic bottles. Underwater reefs, which are a haven for marine life, are clogged with garbage, FML said.
‘’The artificial reef off Shangumugham was created to nurture underwater ecosystem. Then there are the rocky reefs off Kovalam and Vizhinjam. What is happening is that the underwater garbage keeps floating around for a time and finally comes to rest on the reefs. The rocky reefs near Kovalam are one of the few places you will find turtles,’’ Panipilla said.
FML strongly opposed the move to channel wastes created in the city to the coasts, especially under Operation Anantha launched to de-clog major canals like Amayizhanjan.
‘’The government should urgently look into this issue,’’ Panipilla said.