Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
THE mangrove forest ecosystem along
the Tamil Nadu coast faces threat due to
rampant human intervention, prawn
farming and the changed dynamics of
the flow in the Cauvery river system.
The ministry of environment and
forests status report, 1987, states that
India has a total mangrove forest area of
6,740 sq km. Of this, the east coast has
70 per cent of the nation's mangrove
area. Tamil Nadu reportedly has 150 sq
km of mangrove forests. These are predominant in the alluvial delta of the
Cauvery near Muthupettai in Nagai-Quaid-De-Milleth district and
Pitchavaram. coastal area in south Arcot
Muthupettai has a total mangrove
forest area of 12,425 ha, of which, 6,003
ha are reserved forests. These are being
cleared for prawn farming. Mangrove
trees are felled in large numbers and
used as fuelwood for domestic purposes,
hotels and for brick kilns. Under such
pressures, the Muthupettai
Environment Conservation Society was
formed to preserve the mangrove
forests. Teastall owners, brick kiln operators and women were appealed not to
use the fuelwood from mangrove trees.
Muthupettai has been home to 56
plant species of which the important
ones are Avicennia marina, A officinalis,
Excoecaria aqallocha, Saueda maritima
and Acanthus illicifolius. Now, soil erosion in Cauvery's catchment area and
reduced waterflow is gravely affecting
the Muthupettai mangrove ecosystem.
Abdul Rahman, head, department
of zoology, AVVM Sri Pushpam College,
Poondi, says, "Heavy sedimentation is
taking place in the mouth of Koraiyar
river. Low-lying areas are elevated. New
mangroves come up in the resulting
microdeltas. Since access to the sea is
affected, fisherfolk congregate in
lagoons, thereby affecting the nursery
ground of fish and prawns. To facilitate river flow into the sea and seawater flow
during high tide, necessary dredging
should be undertaken. Prawn farms are
using saline water on large scale in the
lagoon area. Also, while pumping the
water from the lagoon, small organisms
were destroyed in the sieve attached to
the pipes. Taking saline water from
lagoons for prawn farms should there
fore be banned. If this two-pronged
action is not taken, within 10 years we
will have the forest area devoid of
In Pitchavararn - constituted of 51
small islets - the pressure is mainly due
to tourism and cattle grazing, which is
said to arrest sapling growth. Eighty-six
plant-', vrawn and more than
58 fish species were identified in the region.
The forest area is spread over 1,100 ha. But according to the satellite
imagery obtained in 1993, the actual
forest area has dwindled to 147 ha.