Saturday, May 22, 2010


Atleast thrice every week, I spend some time watching the Pallikaranai marsh from the top floors of my office building. This wetland is part of the Pallikarnai Forest Block in Thoraipakkam. This is a wonderful swamp with bio-shield reeds that saves Chennai from floods. It has been declared a Reserve Forest and approximately 114 bird species have been recorded.

This is the remaining part of the huge marsh that once existed and where a large number of birds flocked. A large part of this marsh got eaten up, by the dumping of waste and the still unquenched real estate thirst of real estate heroes that hit the city years back. Birds still flock this wetland and the surrounding trees in huge numbers during the seasons.…

An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem located within a body of water. Here we have communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment.

The Wikipedia states that the topography of the swamp is such that it always retains some storage, thus forming an aquatic ecosystem. It has been a home for naturally occurring plants (61 species), fish (50 species), birds (106 species), butterflies (7 species), reptiles (21 species) and some exotic floating vegetation such as water hyacinth and water lettuce, which are less extensive now and highly localized.

Recent reports of the appearance of the White-spotted garden skink which belong to the family of lizards, for the first time in Tamil Nadu, and Russell’s viper, the largest and the most widespread among Asian viper snakes, confirm its invaluable ecological status. Fish such as Dwarf gourami and Chromides that are widely bred and traded worldwide for aquaria, occur naturally in Pallikaranai.
Besides, the Windowpane oyster, Mud crab, Mullet, Halfbeak and Green chromide are some of the estuarine fauna present in the marsh. Birds like the Pied avocets and the Greater flamingo also frequent this wetland.

The pictures below are a proof, of the extremely bad situation of a part of this lake, lying on the opposite side, of the road that cuts across this lake. The city's garbage dump is growing in size out there and right now it's almost the size of a small mountain.What is seen as greyish stretches beside the water is the garbage slowly attaining mountainous proportions. We can see almost a small road running through this garbage mountain.

The waste and bacteria that seep out of these dumps, have started slowly polluting the water in this lake.

Extracts from an article published in the HINDU on the 6th February is below:
“Chennai is running short of dumping space: The Chennai corporation area has a population of 4.2 million people. The solid waste generated in daily is 3225 tonnes – ends up in dumping yards in Kodungaiyur and Perungudi. This is excluding 400 tonnes of construction debris generated daily. The city is running out of dumping space and fast. According to Chennai Corporation’ s estimates, the capacity of the dumping yards will be exhausted in eight years.
The non-composite waste like plastic has increased from 10 per cent to 30 per cent of the total garbage in recent years. The corporation should dialogue with ragpickers and recyclers, who play an informal and insignificant role in waste management.”
The Hindu, 6 February 2007, page 3.

The situation is so grave. I am still carrying on with my life......but am not sure what I can do to see some good things happening here for the birds, the flora and the fauna...not sure whether I can do anything at all..........


veera said...

Roy, It was just an amazing article about the place we commute everyday. I appreciate your creativity and the optimism you have shown in looking at the realistic nature of our working environment.I never know that this has got such a tremendous aqua system.I really congratulate your inquisitiveness in researching and putting for the people to read about the place we visit everyday.Its like looking the glass half full ...we have only looked at the garbage dumbyard and never tend to think the goodness of the place....Thanks for this artice...Way to Go Roy....

Cherry said...

Thanks for complimenting.For many months I was also not aware of the rich aqua system until I came across some details in the Internet.




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