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Kerala State Biodiversity Board mulls ways to save Sasthamkotta Lake

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The lifeline of Kollam and a major drinking water source of the region, Sasthamkotta Lake, which is also the largest freshwater lake in the state, is facing serious threat of depletion due to land reclamation, illegal sand mining, quarrying and unrestricted pumping of millions of litres of water per day by water tankers during summer. Now, in an attempt to protect the lake, a designated wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention since November 2002, the Kerala State Biodiversity Board(KSBB) plans to chalk out an action plan. 

"As part of an awareness drive, display boards against polluting the lake will be put up around the water body. With that, the government plans to empower the biodiversity management committee (BMC)s constituted in each of the three panchayats in the area to prevent illegal sand mining and quarrying near the lake, leading to declining water level in the lake," said member secretary of KSBB, K P Laladhas.

 

"One suggestion is to replenish the lake by pumping in water from the nearby Kallada River. But, before that a scientific study needs to be carried out to ascertain whether the algal bloom from the river would spread to the lake, harming the lake ecosystem and thereby making the water non potable," Laladhas said.

 

KSBB chairman R V Varma said that the government plans to empower the BMC with the support of the revenue and police officials. The untreated sewage and leachate from the industries, agriculture and domestic wastes directly flow into the lake. To prevent that, Suchitwa Mission, as part of its Rs 1.5 crore project, plans to set up a sewage treatment plant and four e-toilets in the area with the support of Keltron. Meanwhile, a water balance study, water quality testing, soil conservation and afforestation measures around Sasthamkotta Lake is on as part of the Rs 4.2 crore Management Action Plan, said senior scientist at the Central Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) Hari Kumar.

Source :Times of India Jun 2, 2012