'Ekkel' deposits spell danger for fisherfolk

Published: 07th July 2014 08:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th July 2014 08:30 AM   |  A+A-


EDAKOCHI: Besides water shortage, a major problem that troubles the  residents here is the deposition of sediments (ekkel) along the banks of the backwaters - a death trap that is gradually nudging the fishermen community into poverty.

Ekkel is a slushy mass of sediments that had migrated to the backwaters in Edakochi and the surrounding areas as a result of dredging at Vallarpadam. Dredging is carried out to make the waterways navigable by excavating the seabed. During the process, only 55 percent of the dug out bottom sediments get disposed of and the remaining dirt flow out according to the current.

Due to the irregular banks at Edakochi, the sediments get accumulated there  and over the years, it has attained width and depth. Now, the ekkel deposits stretch up to 20 metres into the water and has made it dangerous for the fishermen to go into the water with their boats.

Because of this quagmire-like stretch along the banks, the fishermen depend on ropes tied between trees on the land and stumps in the water to draw the boats through the ekkel deposits.

The exercise is strenuous and dangerous. If the rope snaps and the puller falls head down into slush, it will most certainly lead to his death. Last year alone, two such deaths were reported from this region.

Also, a high concentration of sediments over the years of accumulation has brought down the oxygen content in the water, driving fish away from the backwaters.

“The quantity of fish here has dwindled by a large extent. Before dredging at Vallarpadam, if I spend five, six hours in the water, I would fetch up to 50 kg of fish. But these days, I barely get 5 kg with the same effort,” said K R Ramesh, a fisherman and president of Matsya Thozhilali Sahakarana Sangham at Edakochi.

With a drastic fall in fish population, the fishermen here are forced to look for unfamiliar and poorly-paid jobs to provide for their families.

Moreover, with the ekkel lining the banks, it has become easier for people to encroach into the lake. According to the residents here, several families living along the banks have extended their property into the water by filling up the ekkel-laden banks.

Stay up to date on all the latest Kochi news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp