KOCHI: Though the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) is yet to decide on how to use the land at Maradu where the demolished highrises stood, environmentalists have recommended that mangrove forests be developed in the area.
A total of five acres of land will become available once the debris is removed from the demolition sites. The government has already hinted that KCZMA will take a final call on using the land.
“The ideal solution to overcome environmental hazards that the demolition and violations of Coastal Regulation Zone norms caused Maradu, one of the thickly-populated areas in the district, is to restore natural mangroves. We all know about the ecological importance of coastal mangrove forests. The Government should think of developing mangrove vegetation in the area,” said V S Vijayan, an environmentalist.He also stressed on the need for stronger rules and regulations to protect the environment.
“We are not learning anything from the way nature is reciprocating to our actions. We are not taking lessons from the floods and the adverse impacts of climate changes. In this case, the government should bring all the officers who approved the construction of the highrises to book. They should be punished so that other officers do not approve environmental violations in future,” said Vijayan.Biodiversity expert C M Joy said natural mangrove restoration was the best available option.
“The Maradu-Panangad-Nettoor areas were blessed with thick and lush mangrove forests. However, infrastructure development wiped out a majority of the forests. After the railway line and NH bypass projects were completed, most small canals that connected the lake in the district with Vembanad lake were filled. Real estate developers destroyed the mangrove vegetation that dotted the canals’ banks,” he said.
Revival of mangroves to their full glory was not possible, said Joy. “Still, the available land should be utilised for mangrove restoration,” he said. A recent study by IIT-Madras had revealed that mangrove destruction at Maradu between 2002 and 2014 was a major reason for the water pollution, depletion of marine wealth and adverse biodiversity in the area.
Govt decision awaited
Maradu municipal chairperson T H Nadeera said they were waiting for the government’s decision to proceed. “The Chief Secretary has said KCZMA will decide on steps to be taken at Maradu. We are also waiting for instructions from the government. Since all our officials were involved in the demolition proceedings, we could not discuss the post-demolition steps,” she said.
Pollution Control Board seeks steps to counter dust menace
Kochi: The Pollution Control Board (PCB) on Tuesday instructed the Maradu municipal secretary to take steps to counter the dust menace at the locality where demolitions were held. “An inspection by a team of PCB engineers found heavy accumulation of dust in the area. It is now floating around in the air as sprinkling of water and other steps are not being effectively carried out," the PCB said in a statement.
Medical camp held
Kochi: A medical camp was organised by the Health Department at Maradu on Tuesday. Residents living near Alfa Serene complained of various ailments. Sixty persons took part in the camp. “Most were diagnosed with allergic diseases. Throat ache, runny nose and fever are being found as common among them. Dust allergy is the main cause behind the ailments,” said Dr Jeena S Mohan of Nettoor Primary Health Centre.