Karuppan Kulam – End of mechanical work

The mechanical work at the Karuppan Kulam has been finished. The excavators are leaving the pond. Lots of silt has been moved in the last weeks. In the following lines, we will explain the full progress.

Read here about the status of the pond at the start: https://lakesofindia.com/2019/04/19/the-karuppan-kulam-start-of-work/

The pond located in Menambedu, Ambattur, had nearly completely vanished away and water holding capacity was lost. In addition, liquid and solid sewage had entered the sight. After weeds and waste were removed, the de-silting along with the forming of bunds started. The bunds around the pond measure a size of two meters. With them the water holding capacity gets highly increased.

A one meter deep recharge pit in the form of a circle has been formed in the middle. With that, water gets centralized in the middle of the pond where it can percolate. It is the first time this special method is used in a restoration in Chennai.

Triangle shaped shafts have been established at the corners of the pond. They are facilitate that water is flowing into the central circle from the corners. A better percentage of percolation is the positive outcome in the end.

A special triangle was dug in the north eastern corner of the Karuppan Kulam where black water enters the water body. This triangle follows the system of a waste stabilization pond. The sewage gets filtered and only clean water will enter the water body afterwards.

The excavators have left the Karuppan Kulam. The pond is now noticeable as a proper waterbody again with increased water holding capacity. But the work at the pond is far from over. From June on volunteering events will start at the waterbody, including plantation of native species and wallpainting activities.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Volunteer for India & her environment with E.F.I. ~Jai Hind~

The Alapakkam Lake – a preview

The Alapakkam Lake, locally known as Kuyavan Eri, is located in between the military airstrip of Sittalapakkam in the north and Alapakkam in the south.

The surrounding area is not densely populated and mainly shaped by fields and one-to two-storey houses. Some of those homes border the lake directly.

Lush green weeds are covering the water body. Most of them can be identified as an invasive species. Native species vanished away because of the same. The invasive plants are taking away water from the original plants. As a result, they dry up and die. The original habitat gets destroyed.

Nevertheless, the 6-acre sized lake still hosts several different species of wildlife. Different species of bird can be spotted on the little islands located inside the water body. The pied kingfisher and the little cormorant are two examples. The presence of the birds symbolizes that fish can be found inside the lake.

But this lake also has its problems. Sewage from the neighbouring houses flows into the waterbody directly without any filter, solid waste dumped on the bunds. The mix of non-degradable waste and sewage have turned the water of the Alapakkam lake toxic and unusable. In addition, the water holding capacity has decreased heavily partly because of the presence of the invasive species and the bad condition of surrounding bunds.

E.F.I has started its restoration program at Alapakkam Lake by removing the invasive weeds on its shores. The next step includes the installation of an on-shore bund on the northern side, plantation of native species and community-orientated activities. A fence will be installed around the lake to keep out the dumping of solid waste.

For more information and updates check out our facebook pages:
https://www.facebook.com/EFIChennaiSuburban/ and
https://www.facebook.com/indiaenvironment/ .

Volunteer for India & her environment with E.F.I. ~Jai Hind~

Alleri tank – Silt is moving

The restoration of Alleri tank has been now going on for nearly a month and without no doubt, the lake has changed a lot.

The de-watering has completely finished with only leaving two pits of water for fish, turtles and other aquatic animals to stay during the restoration progress.

Invasive weeds have been removed from all parts of the pond and the de-silting work has started. The sludge which has built up during the years has decreased the water holding capacity massively and reduced the percolation rate. The silt is now being used to construct a constructed wetland at Alleri Tank.

The lake will be split into two major parts. On the north side, a large recharge pit will be located, it will act as the main storage for the incoming water. The northern side will be separated by a strong bund. The water will be forced to flow in curves before entering the recharge pit. Plants like vetiver will be planted in order to naturally filter out heavy metals and other pollutants. Our final goal is to let clean water into the central recharge pit only.

Till date, the dividing bund has been formed. The Alleri tank is being de-silted day per day and amazing things can already be witnessed. After seeing only sewage water flowing in for, for the first time, clean groundwater was seen at the lake.

Still, lots of silt needs to be moved to reach our goal of constructing a constructed wetland. Stay tuned for further updates.

Volunteer for India & her environment with E.F.I. ~Jai Hind~

A day for the sake of the lake and self-care

That day, for the sake of the Arasankazhani Lake and self-care, was the first of a kind activity which I had ever come across in Chennai. It is very close to my heart, because the lake still survives, even with so much of disturbances right next to it. Thanks to Environmentalist Foundation of India for giving me an opportunity to gather the community which consisted of various age groups and various level of enthusiasm. We all gathered at the lake early in the morning, and did an hour of plant maintenance and segregation of waste drive, on the bunds of the lake and around it.

The surprising twist to the regular lake maintenance activity was the self –defence workshop by Mr. Anup Nair right beside the lake, who had collaborated with Environmentalist Foundation of India, and shared us few interesting facts about how to protect ourselves from any threat. He also participated in the plantation maintenance activity. I had taken a few kids of age 7-15 with me, and they are very excited to join for every volunteering activity with the Environmentalist Foundation of India.

This makes me happy at the end of the day, that the next generation has already started to conserve India and her Environment.

Volunteer for India & her environment with E.F.I. ~Jai Hind~

How India Named It’s Water Bodies.

India, one of the oldest civilizations is a land of evolutionary knowledge. Environmentalist Foundation of India (E.F.I) through this series brings to focus literature related to water from ancient India. Telugu, Tamil to Marathi, Garo, Odiya to Punjabi, languages in this country have nomenclature for nature reserves that imply so much more than just for naming.

We start the series with an interesting Tamil Name for water bodies, Ilanji.

ilanji refers to a reservoir established to cater to drinking water needs or other daily purposes.

நீர் ஆதாரங்களுக்கு தமிழ் மொழியில் பல்வேரு பெயர்கள் உண்டு. நீர் ஆதாரத்தின் பயன்பாட்டின் படி மற்றும் அதன் அமைப்பின் படி பெயர்கள் மாறுவது உண்டு.

இன்று நாம் தெரிந்து கொள்ளவிருக்கும் நீர் ஆதார பெயர் ‘இலஞ்சி’

குடிநீர், தினசரி பயன்பாடு என பல காரியங்களுக்கு பயன்படும் நீர் தேக்கப்படும் பகுதி இலஞ்சி என அழைக்கப்படுகின்றது. இயற்கையாகவே உருப்பெற்றோ அல்லது தேவைகளை கருத்தில்கொண்டு மனிதர்களால் உருவாக்கப்படும் ஆதாரங்கள் இவை.

நெல்லை மாவட்டத்தில் குற்றாலம் அருகே இலஞ்சி என்ற ஊர்கூட உண்டு. பச்சை கம்பளம் விரித்து, அதில் நீல வண்ண ஓடை வரைய பட்டதுபோல் காட்சியளிக்கும் ஊர் அது.

உங்கள் ஊரில் இருக்கும் இலஞ்சியை தேடி செல்லுங்கள். இலஞ்சி என்ற நீர் ஆதரப்பெயரை நினைவில் வைப்போம், நீர் இன்றி அமையாது உலகு என்பதை மனதார உணர்வோம்.

The Karuppan Kulam – Start of work

Work is going on for 2 weeks at Karuppan Kulam and many things have already changed.

At first, the invasive weeds needed to be removed. Plants like the Prosopis Joliflora are destroying the native environment by leaving other native plants no space and water to grow.

It looks green on top, but it is grey and dirty below

The sewage inlet got blocked in order to work on a dry pond bed. The black water is not entering the pond anymore. After the restoration, the water will be filtered through the use of a constructed wetland. The polluted water has to flow through a canal before entering the pond. Soil and weeds can enable their natural ability to filter out pollutants from the water. That way we can make sure only clean water is entering the main recharge pit in the middle of the pond.

In addition, the large stretch of plastic waste on the northern side of the pond was removed. It took four full truckloads to remove it. A waste-free pond is one of the most important goals of a pond restoration. Only without toxic waste like plastic, a clean and green eco-system can develop.

Just a few strips of plastic are left. Through community-based clean-ups, a fully waste free pond will be achieved.

De-silting work has started on the southern side of the pond. The excavated silt is used to form bunds right away.

The bund formation work is carried on on the eastern side of the pond.

The constructed wetland will be installed in the coming weeks. After the bunds and pits are dug and built, plantation work will carry on. Also, wall-painting activities are coming up soon.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Volunteer for India & her environment with E.F.I. ~Jai Hind~

Samuel Nagar Pond – End of mechanical work

The excavators have left the pond and quietness has reentered the compound. A lot has changed during the last weeks of restoration work.

The pond is located inside the Samuel Nagar burial ground in Manali and right next to a waste sorting facility. The pond was in bad shape at the start of the restoration, but now with the mechanical work over, it has developed into a waterbody with increased water-holding capacity.

Read more about the first steps of the restoration here:

The excavated silt from the pond bed has been effectively used to form and further strengthen the bunds. One off-shore and one on-shore bund have been established at Samuel Nagar. Due to the double bund structure, the water is forced to centralize in the middle of the waterbody. A better percolation rate can be achieved that way.

A clean-up was conducted to free the pond and its surroundings from big amounts of waste mostly out of plastics. If the waste gets in contact with water it is turning toxic.

On the east side of the pond, a slope was constructed. A weed bed will grow there after plantations start in September. The plantation of weeds and vetiver is beneficial in two ways. First, those plants have the natural ability to filter out pollutants from the water. Secondly, weeds are a perfect spot for waterbirds to stay and breed. Moorhens, coots and ducks use those to build their nests and grow their offspring.

To prevent future encroachments by humans a fence was built as the last mechanical step. Now it is harder to dispose waste of any kind on the bunds of the Samuel Nagar Pond.

But the work on the waterbody is far from over. Just removing silt and highering bunds are not enough to reestablish a pond. Further maintenance and plantations are needed. Native species will be planted along the bund. The roots are strengthening the bunds even more. And if the endemic bushes, trees and grass grow a native environment can be formed in the long run.

Volunteer for India & her environment with E.F.I. ~Jai Hind~

Alleri Tank – water inside the industrial heaven

North of Tambaram, inside of the MEPZ a 5.1 acres waterbody can be found, the Alleri tank.

It seems that this lake is having no severe problems. Lots of birds can be seen flying around, including kingfishers, pond herons and egrets. Even Indian flapshell turtles can be found inside the jungle of seaweed.

But under the water lies the reality. Tons of silt have built up all around the tank. This is mainly the result of unfiltered sewage entering the pond through an inlet located at the southeastern bund.

The general water quality has been affected and the water has turned toxic, a threat to everyone getting in contact with it. Only after the de-watering progress the whole dimension of the silt problem became visible.

Silt the result of an over-nutrition waterbody comes with a disadvantage, they are decreasing the water holding capacity massively. The water of heavy rains can’t be stored, overflowing is the result.

As the de-watering has come to an end, two pits of water have been installed in order to leave some space for the marine wildlife during the restoration progress.
De-silting work followed the process and is underway at the time of writing

E.F.I will install an artificial wetland at the Alleri Tank. With this method, the waterbody is able to clean dirty water itself before entering the main collection pit. Bunds will be formed in a way that the incoming water needs to flow some way before it gets to the recharge pit. Specific plants will be planted on the bunds to support the same.

Stay tuned for further updates and check out
https://www.facebook.com/EFIChennaiSuburban/ for more information

Volunteer for India & her environment with E.F.I. ~Jai Hind~