Thiruvananthapuram: The local residents are joining hands with the Swasthi foundation to revive the Vellayani Lake near here, which is the lifeline and a source of water for thousands of people.
The ‘Revive Vellayani’ project aims to restore the lake’s pristine form after clearing weeds, water hyacinths and waste. Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran has launched a 75-day programme to clean up the lake. As part of the project, the weeds and garbage would be removed and steps taken to treat and purify the water.
The project is being implemented with the cooperation of Santhigiri Ashram, the state tourism department, the water resource department, police, Fire and Rescue Services, district administration, city corporation, Citizen India Foundation, Indian Medical Association, Rotary Club, SMRV School, Christ Nagar Senior Secondary School and Venganoor and Kalliyoor panchayats.
Urgent need to save lake
Vellayani Lake is one of the most important freshwater lakes in Kerala after the Sasthamcotta Lake in Kollam district and the Pookode Lake in Wayanad district. But the weeds and waste are choking the lake and it is dying a slow death. People who are heading the ‘Revive Vellayani’ project said that they had decided to save the lake after the realization that water was the lifeline for all.
Numbers are an eye opener
The old records reveal that the total area of the lake was 750 hectares. But sadly, the lake area had shrunk to 558 hectares in 1973 and 267 hectares in 1992. In 2011, the area was only 243 hectares. According to the Revenue Department survey, the lake area decreased alarmingly till 1992 when the lake was drained of water and the land was used for cultivation. The water body is host to many migratory birds and till now 150 different species of birds were spotted at the lake. The ornithologists noted that there was a good presence of ‘cherakozhy’, an endangered species which was in the red data book of rare and endangered species of animals and birds.
A comprehensive plan
Swasthi Foundation general secretary Eby George said that lack of proper study stood in the way of protecting the lake, and to mitigate this problem a comprehensive blueprint of the dying lake would be prepared. Those who want to be part of the project can contact at 9447022444 for more details.