THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The incessant downpour over the last two days and the consequent flooding of city areas have had a dangerous ecological fall-out. Tonnes of city wastes have been pushed out into the sea posing a major threat to the marine ecosystem.
A clean-up drive conducted by a Thiruvananthapuram-based marine research group at the mouth of the Veli Pozhi (estuary with sandbars) on Thursday threw up, among other things, more than 11,000 plastic bottles, and hundreds of leather and plastic sandals and liquor bottles. And all this, from a 700 sq ft area! Friends of Marine Life (FML) pointed out that the wastes flowed into the sea as the sand banks were breached to let out the flood water from the city area.
‘’The breaching of the ‘Pozhi’ normally should not pose a problem. But in this case, all the garbage that had clogged the Amayizhinjan Canal, Parvathy Puthanar and the Akkulam and Veli lakes also were discharged into the sea. Our survey, which covered the sea from Perumathura to Vizhinjam, showed that the estuary waters had mixed with the sea water over an eight-km region,’’ FML convener Robert Panipilla said. FML was one of two agencies from India that had attended the UN Ocean Conference in New York last year.
At the end of the clean-up, FML volunteers had hauled in 11,773 plastic bottles, 1538 leather and plastic sandals, and 834 liquor bottles from a 700 sq foot-area at the estuary mouth! What is frightening is that this is not a new phenomenon.
A few years ago, underwater photographs taken by FML divers had revealed the effects of thoughtlessly ejecting wastes generated in the city into the sea. In fact, large swathes of the near-shore seabed off Thiruvananthapuram have already been transformed into an ever-growing trash dump. The polluted coastal waters are gradually turning into a barren area for fishermen. ‘’We also found that except for the small ‘Kozhiyala’ all other types of fish have fled this contaminated region,’’ Panipilla said. FML volunteers collected the waste and informed the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation so that it could be disposed off properly.
Area of clean-up:700 sq ft area at Veli
Collected:11,773 plastic bottles,1538 sandals, 834 liquor bottles