Thevara: These days environmental issues come to the fore during formal and informal debates in Kerala. At a seminar organised at the Sacred Heart College, Thevara, the other day, environmentalists and others considered the pros and cons of reckless constructions as well as the senseless practices in raising houses. Their responses and suggestions were in the wake of the ongoing row over the proposed demolition of a few flats in Maradu, near Kochi.
Dr. V S Vijayan, a member of Gadgil Panel Committee and environmentalist, said, “Had the recommendation we made to the government was made to effect, 70% of the damages we saw in the 2018 and 2019 floods in Kerala could have been avoided."
He went on to question the number of illegal quarries which are still operating in Kerala. He criticised the action of the successive governments which reduced the limit of providing permission to quarries from 100 meters to 50 m from a residential building.
He also questioned the greed of the citizens in the state who build houses more than 30,000 square feet in area.
When asked about the demolition of Maradu flats during the interaction session, Dr. Vijayan wondered if anyone has thought about the environmental impact of constructing the same amount of houses which would be raised once the flats would be demolished. He questioned how many more tons of cement and stone would require for the current evictees to restart their life.
He also said he has written a letter to the government asking to introduce a system where the floor area of constructing a house is decided based on the number of dwellers. He asked the audience to adopt environmentally friendly construction methods for future buildings.
Senior Advocate M R Rajendran Nayar opined that only enforcement of laws will lead to curtailment of illegal activities which harm the environment.
“Kerala needs to consider using bamboo for construction. Planting bamboo trees will also help in absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow in four years,” architect G Jayagopal said.
The seminar titled the “Importance of Western Ghats and Rebuilding New Kerala” was presided by Fr. Dr. Prasant Palakkappilly, principal of Sacred Heart College, Thevara.
M M Abbass, Secretary Organic Kerala Charitable Trust; Dr. T V Siddique, Principal Scientist, Kerala Forest Research Institute; Prof. TP Kunjikannan, and Anil Kumar K V, DGM Keltron also spoke at the seminar.
The event was co-organised by Rajagiri Outreach, St. Teresa’s College, Bharat Mata College, Organic Kerala and Social Health One Health Movement.