River Poetry

Guest Contribution: Miss. Dhrthi

Our Elixir- The River

An elixir, the mighty river twists and turns,
Undeterred by the plastic and weeds that choke it.
For a single drop of pure water, our heart yearns
But do we ever do something about it?
Dreams of clear water infiltrate our thoughts
Instead with sewage and filth, we ensue drought.
The dirty river stinks, we say we can’t stand it
But for the river and in truth, only we are are unfit.
The river gives and gives, it never takes
Not only for you and I, but for everything that is alive.
The plants, the insects, the birds, the snakes
In and around the river’s water, they thrive.
We use their home, it is their plight
But to slowly poison it is far from right. 
To return to its former glory is not a fantasy
But a reality in the hands of you and me.
We need the river, it doesn’t need us,
Without it we won’t get far
If only we act fast, without a fuss
And respect our Cooum, Adyar and Kosasthalaiyar.

Lake Poetry

Guest Contribution – By Mr. Hariharan.

“There are wildlife heroes’ elephants and lions
           In vegetables shops tomatoes and onions
Likewise are sea life heroes’ crabs and jellyfish
          But humans have hunted them for selfish
To preserve nature is to be our motto
        But we just have inserted some tatoo
To show ourselves we are caring
         Cutting trees and hunting species are worrying
Facts shows lakes and ponds are dirty
             Time to save nature before thirty
People had clean lakes and ponds in two thousand
             Now pollution have added problems in thousand
Long ago created nature we don’t know its age
                    But it’s time to preserve natural heritage
 Lakes and Ponds are natural beauty                     
Its safety and protection is our duty”

Send us your Lake-Pond, videos/photos/write ups to be published onto LakesofIndia.Com

Email us your entries: lakesofindia@gmail.com

Volunteer for India & her Environment with E.F.I, Jai Hind.

Lake Poetry

Author Contribution: Priyanka Monga

कई राज़ है इसकी गहराई में,
कई सदिया इसमें समाई है l

कुछ झीलें जीती है अच्छा जीवन ,
कुछ आज भी प्रदूषण की मार खाई है l

बहुत दिनों बाद कोई चैन की साँस लाया है, मानव के लिए खतरा,
इन्होने सुना है इनका कोई पहरेदार आया है।l

Send us your short stories, poetry, photos or video content related to lakes/ponds.
Email your content to lakesofindia@gmail.com

Volunteer for India & her Environment with E.F.I, Jai Hind.

Lake Photo Stories

Author Contribution
Photos by: Lakshmi Sundaresan

1. Ooty Boat House Lake – Clicked during a morning Lake ride
2. & 3. River Kaveri flowing through Nisargadhama forest Coorg
4. Chandubi lake Gauhati – Boat ride
5. Local Water body – West Champaran district Northern Bihar

Send us your lake content and let’s popularize our water bodies.
Volunteer for India & her Environment with E.F.I, Jai Hind.

Osudu Lake, Pondicherry

Author Contribution

Osudu Lake photos as shared with us by Miss. Manasvi Jagannath.

Puducherry’s largest lake, a water body that separates TN and PY.
Send us your Osudu Lake stories, photos-videos-write ups.
Let us popularize this lake to prevent it from undergoing any further exploitation.

Email us your content to: lakesofindia@gmail.com

The more we talk about our lakes, the easier it is to conserve them.
Volunteer for India & her Environment with E.F.I, Jai Hind.

E.F.I’s Eco Lab Batch of 2020 – Our new environmental leaders

In the academic year 2019-20, E.F.I  established an environmental education program called “Eco-Lab” at the Chennai Middle School in Thiruvanmiyur. Students from classes 6th to 8th were invited to participate in sessions, which were conducted every Fridays by E.F.I’s Education Team.

The motto behind these sessions were to help the students better understand conservation through experiments and practical demonstrations. The sessions would mainly revolve around E.F.I’s three W’s: Waste, Water and Wildlife.

To fully understand nature and the environment surrounding them, they were also actively engaged in several Clean-up activities, as well as a garden and compost set up for their school campus.

The students were also taken on the field trips; E.F.I’s Lake Safari which allowed them to understand the importance of lake restoration as well as get an idea of native wildlife & Botanical species.

As the final exams are nearing, the Eco-Lab Sessions had come to an end. To celebrate the student’s achievements during these sessions, as well as reward them for their efforts, A Graduation Ceremony was held on 13th March 2020.
Before handing out the certificates and gifts, the students preformed experiments that they had learned throughout the year. Experiments such as purifying water with Moringa seeds, proper waste segregation and how an oil spill can be treated was performed in font of the dignitaries.

We take pride and honor in training these students to be planet friendly & sustainable citizens, we are very proud to send this generation of environmental leaders out in the world!

E.F.I thank Greater Chennai Corporation (G.C.C) for their administrative support and Latent View Analytics for their support in making this program a reality.

Volunteer for India and her environment with E.F.I!

-Jai Hind-

The Pallikaranai Marshland – a lost soul

I look out of my classroom window, as my biology teacher drones on about ‘meiosis cell division’. I stare at the vast expanse of marshland ahead of me. Looking out at the area, reveling in its vastness and enormity, I consider what my friends had told me before class: the Pallikaranai marshland is only about a tenth of the size it was in the late 1960s. I contemplate how this landscape used to be littered with exquisite birds rather than plastic and factory waste; how one could walk past the scenic Pallikaranai Main Road without being assaulted by the noxious fumes from the burning plastic and rotting biodegradable waste; how the people living around the marshland would make the flora and fauna of the marshland a part of their everyday life, rather than avoiding it out of fear of catching diseases. Yet, as I think of this idyllic state, I remember the cause of the problem. Us.

A few metres from the marshland, a Chennai Corporation maintained Earth Mover dumps garbage onto the marshland. Though the wetlands of Pallikaranai were brought under the reserved region by the state government ten years ago and are currently under the jurisdiction of the forest department, the city corporation itself seems to be using the marshland as a dumping ground. Moreover, the greywater from temporary sheds built for construction workers in the area also drains into the Pallikaranai Marshland, leaving the restoration work, carried out by the forest department, all but redundant. The stormwater drains constructed by the corporation and the sewage lines from the city are also letting untreated sewage into the marsh. Moreover, the MRTs and, ironically, the National Institute of Technology, as well as the centre for wind energy technology have recently been found to have encroached upon approximately 100 acts of the marshland, alongside with IT parks and possibly even schools like my own, which were built upon the marshland. 

Of course, one may ask, whether such criticism is fair in a nation such as ours, where most individuals are not part of the formal economy and need access to the banking sector and many urbanised and developed areas, where they may find employment. It is clear that the MRT and other government systems allow this, as even a bad sewage system is greatly superior to the absence of one as in many parts of rural India. 

While this is certainly true, it is an idea, which hinges upon the idea that nature and economic growth may not cooperate. Like with Perungudi lake, the Pallikaranai Marshland is a water basin for the Thoraipakkam area. After the last week’s heavy rains and the past years’ unnatural floods, one may only be thankful for having such a large water body. Moreover, the damage done by it inside many houses would likely be far lower if it were the size that it was 30 years ago, at a grand 50 sq.km, as compared to its current, relatively puny size of approximately 3.17 sq.km. 

This is not to say that all infrastructure be abandoned for the sake of the marshland; OMR and the IT sector that it created in our city has been incredibly beneficial and created many thousands of skilled office jobs; and the MRT connects the area to the centre of the city – a much needed measure in an area, where many do not own cars or bikes. Rather, it is important to note how vital the preservation of these lakes is and find a way to construct around the area – not to appeal to our conscience and some vague idea of a greater connection to nature, but to look at the clear benefits that water bodies such as the Pallikaranai Marshland offer to our city, the opportunities it presents in terms of business (especially tourism) and the need for having such water bodies for a long-term, sustainable growth.

One might now be wondering how it is possible to return such an area to its former glory, ten times its current size. Here, we may have a moment of relief, as with the support of restoration work by the forest department, and organisations such as EFI, which are merely being mindful of the garbage in the are and picking it up when possible and bringing the waterbody closer to its original size. In the future, I hope to see the Pallikaranai marsh as it originally was.

The above is a guest write-up by Hrsh Venket, one of our interns and student, who studies at a school in Thorraipakkam.

The Kodaikanal Lake – an example for conservation

Located in Dindigul district city of Kodaikanal, the Kodai Lake is a man-made lake, which was created due to a scenario unique to Kodaikanal. As the roads up to this hill-town were being built, large masses of soil that were necessary in creating the path up the hill, were needed. As this soil was removed to create the road, a large area of approximately 60 acres had been cleared. During the monsoon rains, which, like in many other parts of Tamil Nadu, leave the town with some days of near constant rain, the area was filled with water, beginning to appear like a lake.

Looking upon this, Sir Vere Henry Levinge, the then Collector of Madurai, was backed by the British and early missionaries from the USA, to create the Kodai Lake: an area, which is considered the town’s main tourist attraction, since its creation in 1863

Yet, however interesting the story is of Kodai Lake’s creation is, what is far more unique about this lake, as compared to many other lakes in India, are the efforts to protect the lake.

For example, a study in 2007 by the Department of Atomic Energy confirmed that the lake had been contaminated by mercury emissions by a thermometer factory located near the lake. Now, if you are to walk by it, you will see it as a completely abandoned shed. Moreover, conservation efforts by the Government of India and Tamil Nadu Government’s National Lake conservation plan, since 2001, have greatly improved the state of the lake. Costing approximately Rs. 10.33 crores, the restoration efforts included Bio remediation, sewage treatment (due to high pollution loads of organic matter from commercial establishments around the lake), the construction of low-cost sanitation facilities around the lake, spreading awareness, de-weeding, interception and diversion works, dredging and fencing around the lake.

Moreover, such conservation efforts have lead to making Kodai lake the center of the city’s economy and the everyday life’s of residents, even to the point that many businesses have set themselves up further away from the lake now, so that they no longer embank the water body. Many hotels and resorts have also been set up around the lake, attracting hordes of tourists year-on-year. Though such tourists are a significant factor contributing to the pollution of the lake, the tourism this city receives because of the lake has made the conservation of the lake a priority for hotels and the various businesses around the city. Over the last 12 years, visiting Kodaikanal with my family, I have seen the city grow, while seeing the lake becoming cleaner every year. Garbage thrown on the banks of the lake has greatly diminished, as it has become the norm for more people to shun those, who climb past the fencing and disturb the ecosystem of the lake by throwing cigarette buds or chips packets.

Such an effect, which the lake has had on Kodaikanal, is one which various cities around India should aim to learn from, resoluting in a better treatment of our lakes.

The above is a guest write-up by Hrsh Venket, one of our interns.

E.F.I’s Mega Volunteering Drive @ Karuppan Kumal-Ambattur, Chennai

Friday, 21st February 2020

The Karuppan Kulam in Ambattur was restored in the summer of 2019 by E.F.I in association with the Greater Chennai Corporation (G.C.C) & the Murugappa group. Prior to the restoration, the Karuppanan Kulam was a makeshift dump yard slowly degrading day by day.

The pond went through a scientific restore effort and was prepared for the 2019 North-East monsoons. To ensure the sustainability of the project as well as involve the local communities in conservation effort, E.F.I organises volunteering drives to ensure the restored pond is conserved and protected.

As a part of this initiative, a massive volunteering drive titled ‘Mega Volunteer Drive’ was organised by E.F.I inviting volunteers from all walks of life. A massive clean-up drive and a wall painting effort took place from 8 am to 11 am. College students, working professionals and local residents all joined hands for 3 hours today morning volunteering at the Karuppan Kulam.

Today’s effort is to be continued in the following weeks and months, ensuring that the pond is once again ready for the monsoon in 2020.

We thank G.C.C for their administrative support, the students from the Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College for women, employees from Barclays bank and every individual who joined us this morning in strengthening the efforts to protect and conserve the Karuppan Kulam in Ambattur.

Watch the transformation of the Karuppanan Kulam here:

Volunteer for India & her Environment with E.F.I!

-Jai Hind-