THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As part of an effort to rejuvenate water bodies and protect wetlands, a group of students along with a start-up firm — NestAbide — has implemented a first-of-its-kind initiative, Floating Treatment Wetland System (FTWS), in the capital. The students of Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology along with NestAbide implemented FTWS to rejuvenate the Puliyil Pond at Ulloor-Akkulam Road as part of a research project which aims at the restoration of water bodies and wetlands.
The FTWS is made of artificial platforms that allow aquatic emergent plants or aquatic macrophytes to grow in water. Co-founder and managing partner of NestAbide Nanma Gireesh said that wetlands can improve water quality and treat wastewater and other industrial contaminants. Four different buoyant platforms using bamboo, bottles and other materials as a base were used for making the floating wetlands. “The project is being implemented as part of experimental research after partly clearing the floating weeds in the pond. We chose Puliyil pond because it is small in size and ideal for the project.
The floating wetlands will absorb contaminants from the water. Restoration of water bodies should also include clearing of floating and deposited debris or invasive weeds, removal of silt deposits and revitalising the biodiversity around it. Recently, we implemented FTWA in a small pond in Oachira, Kollam as part of a project for few engineering students,” said Nanma.
She said that due to lack of funding, they had only cleaned the floating aquatic weeds and implemented two units of FTWS with canna plants as macrophytes and bamboo and other natural materials for buoyant platforms. “These plants grew fast enough absorbing nutrients and we had to cut a few leaves off from the top to maintain the load on to the buoyant platform,” she added. Akkulam ward councillor Suresh Kumar said the pond has been lying in a neglected state for many years. “I was happy to help the students when they came up with such a proposal. Around five years ago when I was the councillor, we had renovated the pond but now it is filled with water weeds,” said Suresh.
Karthika M K, one of the students involved in the project, said they will be closely monitoring the pond to study how floating wetlands will help restore the pond. “We will be watching the growth of the weeds and quality of the water. As per our assessment, it will take a minimum of eight months to get results,” said Karthika.