The Nehru Nagar pond, strangely located outside the area known as Nehru Nagar, is an oasis lying on the Old Mahabalipuram Road, in between Thoraipakkam and Karapakkam. It is a beautiful water body, which consists of heavenly palm tree islands and an herbal garden on it’s far side – a sight that one does not expect to see in an urban metropolis; especially not on the main road.
However, prior to EFI’s restoration of the pond, it contained large amounts of garbage and construction debris that had been dumped into it over the years. This restricts water from percolating and replenishing ground-water reserves – a resource, which Chennai depends on for freshwater. Despite this, the water holding area was able to retain water. With support from the Greater Chennai Corporation and funding support from Hexaware, EFI removed the debris from the pond, broadened bunds and built road-side fencing to protect the pond from the traffic and garbage of OMR. Since this measure has been implemented, the area’s garbage has gone down significantly.
Moreover, restoration efforts also included lining bunds with jute to prevent the bunds from erosion. This is a measure, which is especially important due to the heavy rainfall that Chennai receives during its monsoon seasons. Furthermore, some areas of the jute lining have grass planted on them as it both covers the jute and, of course, protects the bunds from wearing away over time. Such measures are especially helpful because of the effects of the trash and embankments of the city on the soil.
In the future, to renew the beauty of this pond, of which a part has been lost during the development of OMR, EFI is planning to add bird nests. This, alongside the birds and various other creatures which wade through Nehru Nagar Pond, make the place a sight that one cannot stop to look at while driving on the main road.
As I had gone to the pond, recently, a woman, who had been enjoying the view of the pond asked me for the time. Upon responding to her, she sighed that it was nearly time for her to go for her evening shift and that she would have loved to relax there for longer.
As she left, two kids took her place as one was chasing after the other, when both of them were slowing down to appreciate the beauty of the pond, before realising that they had slowed down and quickly getting back into their game.
It is clear that Nehru Nagar Pond, like our beaches and certain other water bodies in our city, has become an integral part of the lives of the people around it, bringing happiness, creating appreciation or even just providing a nice spot to relax.
Let us, now, protect our lakes!
Volunteer for India and her Environment with EFI!
The above is a guest write-up by Hrsh Venket, one of our interns