ALAPPUZHA: The highly polluted Vembanad lake is likely to get redemption soon with the district administration planning to clean it up.
A committee under Dr K.G. Padmakumar, former associate director of the Regional Agricultural Research Station, Kumarakom, has been set up for the purpose.
According to Collector N. Padmakumar, various departments, including fisheries, port, irrigation and agriculture, will submit their reports for preventing encroachment of the lake and its pollution within a week.
The river is contaminated by bio-wastes, plastics and encroachments. A recent study conducted by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), a Bangalore-based non-governmental organisation, had shown that the level of dissolved oxygen in the lake had decreased.
The study followed a request by the Lake Protection Forum, an organisation of fishermen.
Mr T.D. Jojo, ATREE, says the level of dissolved oxygen has come down to two mg per litre, which will affect the fish species in the lake.
The change of colour could be the result of the decrease of oxygen. The lake water has turned alkaline, he says.
Dr Padmakumar said, “As per the study, we have found that the presence of nitrate and phosphate was going up in the waters apart from cadmium and zink which will adversely affect the health of humans.
The presence of these metals is high in Punnamada and Pallathuruthy areas,” he said.
In July last, the government had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying that house boats were instrumental in polluting Vembanad lake.
According to the affidavit, about 1,163 houseboats were issued licences while the lake has a carrying capacity of only 608.
The increasing number of houseboats has resulted in the multiplication of e-coli bacteria in the backwaters.
Mr K.M. Poovu , secretary, Vembanad Lake Protection Forum, welcomed the district administration’s decision.
“But when an official starts a study on the lake, he will be transferred delaying the project,” he points out. “It is estimated that a total of 7,500 tonnes of fish wealth was getting depleted every year in the lake,” he said.