Kochi: The water flow in Vembanad Lake has decreased alarmingly owing to plastic waste and silt. In many areas of the lake, the flow has decreased by around 50 percent. These facts were reported in a research study submitted by Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos). The study has warned that decrease in flow would increase the intensity of floods.
Earlier the study had found that the sharp depth shrinkage of the lake from 8 to 9 metres in 1930s to the present 1.6 to 4.5 metres.
Another finding in the study which is alarming is the presence of around 4276 tonnes of plastic garbage in the bottom sediments of the Alappuzha regions. The lake area in these regions is 76.5 sq.km. This amounts to 55.9 tonnes per sq.km. of plastic garbage. It is known that in Kochi regions also there is a similar situation.
The floods in central Kerala intensified as the water from Periyar river reaching the Vembanad Lake was flowing in many other routes. The water from the lake couldn’t flow into the sea due to obstructions present and hence flows back to shore.
There are around 15 bridges constructed across the lake in a period of 20 years. During these construction, the debris and garbage were deposited in the lake and still remains there.
According to a report submitted by the Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority, the eco-sensitive Kol Wetlands of Vembanad Lake is one of the critically vulnerable coastal areas in the country and would be one of the firsts that would diminish because of climatic change.
Within the next 50 years, the shores of Kerala would witness a rise in sea level by 50 cm to 1 m. If this happens, Vembanad Lake and the premises would vanish.
Need to conserve Vembanad Lake
Dr. A Ramachandran, Vice Chancellor of Kufos said that the reduction in flow in Vemband lake has to be viewed seriously. It is found in the study that the width and depth of the lake is diminishing at an alarming rate. Within 25 years, 30 percent of the lake has reduced. If we don’t act now to protect the lake, the situation would be catastrophic, he added.