ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES OF WETLAND ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT - A CASE STUDYB. K. Purandara
Vembanad Lake is one of the water bodies known as a 'Ramsar site', that is, one listed in The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. It is a fact that, in recent years there is a threat to the major wetland ecosystems of our country. The lakes and reservoirs, all over the country without exception are in varying degree of environmental degradation. Vembanad lake is not an exception. The major causes of deterioration are encroachments, eutrophication (from domestic and industrial effluents) and silt accumulation. Such ecosystem are highly dynamic and therefore, physical, biological and chemical characteristics vary greatly with different time scales and it is quite likely that these variations may influence sedimentary processes. In the recent years, in number of reports, it is stated that the Vembanad lake, which is situated close to the major cities like Ernakulam, Kochi and Alapuzha acts as a sink for all the pollutants from industrial, household wastes, animal and human excretion, high toxic chemical insecticides etc. In the present paper, various geochemical data pertaining to lake sediments were collected from different sources and analysed. A detailed investigation results of the sediments collected during 1985-1987 (about 20 years ago) is presented. Field investigations were carried out during 2005 to observe the geological, geomorphological and environmental changes occurred in a gap of 20 years. Public opinions were also collected during the investigation to understand the extent of environmental impact in and around the study area. Based on the past and present investigations carried out by the author reminds the fact that, if appropriate measures are not taken to rebuild the lost glory and culture of the coastal tract, it will end up with an environmental hazard to the neighbouring areas.
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