Restoration in store for water bodies in and around Chennai.

It looks like a concern for the environment is part of the new DMK government in power. This is a refreshing change from the mindless pursuit of economic development which has severely damaged the environment in countries like China, and is causing enormous damage to ecological balance and the health of the population. As opposed to this, the Tamil Nadu government has proposed a comprehensive eco-restoration project for five lakes in and around Chennai.

The five lakes selected are (hold your breath!) the Pallikaranai Marsh, the Chitlapakam lake, the Tiruneermalai periya eri, the lake between Palkani and Pallavaram, and lastly the Madipakkam lake. This is indeed good news and will mean that the water table in the city will have a chance to get recgarged if the government carries out its plan well. The Pallikaranai wetlands alone are said to be capable of holding five times the water volume required by the city in a year!

In addition to restoring these lakes and the ecological balance of the areas around them, the government is also proposing an integrated coastal zone management plan all the way from the Pulicat lake in the North to the Palar in the South. The plan to do this has been entrusted to the Institute of Ocean Management, Anna University. An additional piece of news is that the Chennai City River Conservation Project has completed 99.8% of the work in intercepting 314 sewage outfalls into the Adyar, Cooum and Buckingham Canal at a cost of Rs 358 crore. When this becomes completely operational, we should see a marked improvement in the water quality of our rivers. As I recall, this was also a project being spear headed by the Anna University.

On top of this comes yesterday’s announcement of a nature park at the Adyar estuary, with the creek, islands and outflow area being developed at a cost of Rs 100 crore. This is supposed to be a world class nature park that will help spread awareness of the importance of conservation. The idea is to reserve and develop the river near its mouth into a bio-diversity reserve. It certainly looks like all that we have discussed on Chennai Metblogs in the past about using our natural resources well to add to the quality of life of the citizens of Chennai is now a possible dream!

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