Once upon a time Kerala was blessed with lots of fresh water fishes. I mean just 20 years back there were numerous fishes in Ponds, Lakes, Canals and rivers. I have witnessed
Almost all the species have gone missing or are on the verge of extinction. There were some migratory fishes too that are also very rarely seen nowadays.
Freshwater Fishes and Aquatic life Disappearing
Let’s check some of the main reasons for disappearance of fishes.
- Farming: Yes, that’s right; synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides used in fields are highly caustic and toxic for the tissues of aquatic life.
- Retaining walls: When retaining walls are built on rivers or any water source, all the natural tree root shelter and holes in the walls are replaced with concrete walls with no gaps. Even if there are any gaps, temperature of water around rocks is really high and doesn’t provide enough protection from predators for breeding.
- Diverting water flow: Complex life forms develop over many years. When rivers and other water sources are diverted; most of the existing species are killed.
- Factories: Toxic chemical residue being let into the water sources indiscriminately without filtering also kills life.
- Non-native Species: Introduction of exotic birds, fishes and other life forms have also been a major reason. Artificial fisheries which cultivate only one type of fish; kill and damage breeding ground of all others.
- Dams: Dams obstruct the natural flow of water; this kills the life forms along with destroying other natural cycles in the plains. It also destroys trees and other life forms on the mountains which will be submerged under water after dam construction. Farmers are also unable to get more crops because water is diverted to towns and cities to ultimately become filthy. In my opinion dams are also one of the main reasons for climate changes as large amounts of water is concentrated in one location where as it should be nourishing and slowly seeping into underground aquifers which hardly ever evaporate. Water only evaporates fast if there are no trees on river edges or else it will not evaporate and also water slowly goes into aquifers and even aquitard which is generally under big rocks and restricts the flow of groundwater from one aquifer to another. It takes many years for them to replenish. Bore well water users mind it.
- Temperature: Rise in temperature and delicate macro climate of the area changes with large scale activities in a very short span of time before life forms can adjust.
Above images are evidence for the destruction that all small panchayats are doing in Kerala.
Kaida maram (Screw pine – pandanus) and many other wild trees help retain water on river and other tributary beds. If sustainable models were developed then this screw pine would have been a big success for small families in Kerala as they are used to make traditional floor mats.
Large scale projects clearing environmental impact assessment are complete bollocks and a major contributor towards this unwarranted change in the eco-system.
Airport Projects in North Malabar Environmental Impact
One such project that cleared this assessment recently is Kannur airport. What has it got to do with fishes you ask?
As of now the airport area has cleared vast areas of land (Note that this project is close to 2000 acres roughly 8 square km). This has rendered a large surface area exposed to the sun; temperature has increased drastically in the airport vicinity because of the same. Water evaporates faster when trees are cut, destroying other life forms. Anjarkandy River flows through the airport area; so expect more deaths in coming few years, at least in kannur. Such vast area holds lot of water with the support of trees.
I am not against development however I believe there was no need for such a large airport since there is an existing one in Calicut which is approx 90km from kannur. When this becomes fully functional I guess Calicut airport should be rendered useless.
Once the airport is operational; large, small industries and many other modern human extravaganzas will lead the already deteriorating farming and environment of north Malabar to further worsen.
There is also an airport project in pipeline for Wayanad state. I only hope it is not built anytime soon.