Constructions spell eco doom

Fish in backwaters depleted, vegetation cover decreased by half because of wetland reclamation for constructions in 2002-14

Published: 19th September 2019 06:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2019 06:54 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The widespread reclamation work carried out in the wetland areas of Maradu municipality for 
construction activities during 2002-2014 caused significant negative impact on the environment in the area including destruction of mangroves and filtration ponds, and created a toxic environment for aquatic life due to disposal of sewage in the backwaters. This was stated in the environmental assessment report on the area prepared by IIT Madras.

The report titled ‘Environmental Assessment of Construction Buildings and their Demolition in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) of Maradu Municipality’, where the Supreme Court has ordered demolition of four apartment complexes for violation of CRZ norms, was submitted to the government late on Tuesday. 

One of the grave results of water pollution has been the depletion of fishes and the increase in pathogenic bacteria in the backwaters. The loss in the potential for carbon sequestration or carbon sink due to the removal of mangroves in Maradu is estimated to be about 28.5 tonnes of CO2/year. Qualitative analysis of the satellite imagery available strongly suggests that the built-up area in Maradu municipality increased by up to three times over the past two decades while the vegetation cover decreased by more than half.

The report said the total solid waste generated would be about 78 kg/day a building with 150 occupants. In an apartment having 1,500 sq ft of carpet area in a reinforced concrete building, the wasted carbon footprint is at least about 100 tonnes of CO2. It could then be estimated that the demolition of a complex with 80 such apartments, with a remaining life of 50 years, would have the same negative impact as the removal of 1 sq km of mangroves, over the same period of time. The total CRZ area in Maradu is about 1.72 sq km and the mangrove area is estimated as 0.41 sq km, with a buffer zone of 1.07 sq km.

There are numerous houses and apartment complexes along the water bodies, falling within the CRZ. “..the reclamation of the wetlands in the CRZ area of Maradu carried out during the period of 2002 to 2014, and the removal of mangroves, over an area estimated to be about 0.92 sq km, has resulted in significant (negative) impact on the environment, including water pollution, depletion of fisheries, and the losses of the carbon sink, biodiversity and the protection against coastal hazards,” the 62-page report said. 

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