Kollam: It's going to be an uphill task to regain the lost glory of the Ashtamudi Lake here. But concerted efforts can help in reviving the waterbody, and some of the suggestions put forward on this front include planting of mangrove saplings and installing cameras to track litterbugs.
The 'Ashramom Mangrove Avenue' project is a bid to make the development of Kollam town environment friendly. The project envisages an alternative mangrove habitat as Kollam lost its green belt to the development of national waterways. An over bridge, a lake beach and an astral garden for the tourists are also on the anvil.
The proposals have been presented by Kerala Sastra Sahithya Parishad member V K Madhusudhanan before an array of authorities from state chief minister to Kollam mayor.
The project gives equal weightage to waste management and conservation of mangrove trees. It also aims to protect the biodiversity of the lake and health of people residing near the waterside. In the face of rampant pollution, the project focusses on the edible factor of yellow clam (manjkakka) and other fish stocks of the lake.
Apart from protection of mangrove forests, the project seeks to check lake encroachment and plastic waste. The project is a blueprint for environment-friendly development of the city. It also intends to spread the message that cleanliness is the cornerstone of tourism.
The mangroves have a pivotal role to play in protecting the biodiversity. The mangrove trees prevent sea erosion and protect coasts from storms and other natural calamities, and provide a perfect habitat for different species of birds and animals. The authorities are in the final stages to give the state’s first biodiversity heritage status to the mangroves, which include the endangered ‘Kulavetti’ category, at Ashramom here.
An over bridge should be built from KSRTC bus station to New Hockey Stadium and traffic should be diverted through the new bridge. With this, the Link Road and adjoining areas will be free of vehicular movement, and this space could be used to build parks or converted into parking lots. A liquid waste treatment plant could be established near Manichithodu and the effluents flowing into the lake could be treated at the facility. The Link Road ground should be converted into a lake beach. The number of house boats operating in the lake should be limited as per the area of the waterbody, and an astral garden should also be developed.
The lake, its banks, and connecting canals are covered in plastic junk. The waste from hospitals, fish processing units, hotels, workshop and garbage from the city are unscientifically dumped into the lake. Moreover, the corporation junk is being buried at the link road ground near the lake.
The detritus in the lake and the strong stench emanating from it are adversely affecting the tourism potential of the area. The authorities also failed to curb lake encroachment by unscrupulous elements. The huge influx of visitors to the adventure park has resulted in loss of mangrove forests in the area.