ALAPPUZHA: The implementation of the February 7 decision of the State Wetland Authority Kerala (SWAK) to regulate houseboats polluting water bodies like Vembanad Lake is dragging on. Its proposals included the registration and re-registration of houseboats and interventions in eco-tourism projects. Researchers and environmentalists demand more power and infrastructure for SWAK to implement its decisions as a study by Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Germany, found microplastics in Vembanad Lake posing a risk of contaminating the food chain since the locals consume fishes and clams from it.
Dr Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan of the Bangalore-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), who was studying the issue for a decade, blames the lack of infrastructure framework for the delay. "We had been demanding a regulatory authority for the sector as it is one of the leading polluters. The government has to take immediate steps to implement it," he says. The 2,033-sq km lake is one of the largest in India where over 1,500 houseboats lay anchored along the Alappuzha-Kumarakom stretch.