Going overboard with development?

A new project seeks to examine the environmental degradation due to development in Kochi

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

When progress becomes a hindra (Credit: AMIT SHANKER/CSE) the Union ministry of environment and forests ( mef ), has initiated a multi-institutional project to study the environmental impact due to development in Kochi, the harbour city of Kerala. The study, scheduled to be finished by the year 2000, will be followed by specific management plans for critical areas.

Several organisations, including National Environmental Engineering Research Institute ( neeri ), Nagpur, National Institute of Oceanography ( nio ), Centre for Earth Science Studies ( cess ), Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala State Pollution Control Board ( kspcb ), and Kerala Forest Research Institute ( kfri ) are participating in the study. The Union government has allocated Rs 3 crore for the project.

"Kochi has been chosen for the study because of its vast development potential," says K K Ramachandran, head of environmental sciences division at the cess. The assessment would cover the resource potential of an area covering about 20,000 square kilometres. Experts will study the land, water, air, existing land use, land quality, mineral resources, competing demand for land, existing waste disposal sites and its environmental compatibility.

A main feature of the project is to study the existing water quality. The project will also focus on the air quality of Kochi and surrounding areas. An inventory of flora and fauna of the area will also be made. A thorough demographic study will ascertain the local human resource potential and the quality of life. "It is envisaged that a total picture of resource potential could be made available," says Ramachandran.

"Drawing up proposals on a sustainable basis may help suggest alternative development scenarios, including alternative development nuclei, if the present locations have exceeded the carrying capacity," says Ramachandran.

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