News: Greens question pleasure boating

Dec. 22: Environmentalists in the city are sceptical about the proposed leisure boating facility in Velachery lake. They cite the example of Ousteri lake in Puducherry which was polluted badly after leisure boating service was started. They are also worried about the dim prospects of migratory birds visiting the lake once the boating starts.

“The city corporation’s plans of eco-tourism in Velachery lake, like all other government projects, is not far-sighted. It will not just pollute the lake further. It will also disturb the already declining bird life in the lake,” said Mr Nityanand Jayaraman, environmentalist.

While corporation sources maintain that the lake will be beautified by removing all pollutants before launching boat rides, the experience at Ousteri lake in Puducherry has made many environmentalists worried.

“Ousteri lake used to be a great destination of migratory birds and a source of aquatic life before the boating facility was introduced. After boat rides were introduced, birds and fish have disappeared. The lake is full of plastic waste now,” said Mr K. Sugumaran, who is an active member of ‘Save Ousteri Lake.’

Madras Naturalists’ Society (MNS) is studying the possible impact of boating on bird life in Velachery lake. “Bird life will be hit badly if boating is introduced. Bird life is already on the decline due to increasing noise of vehicles in the area,” said Mr Sudhakar, secretary, MNS.

Chennai corporation’s plans include regular cleanup of the lake.

“We have plans to stop sewage inflow to the lake. Parks will be developed on the lakeside to protect the ecosystem. Birds almost stopped visiting the lake. Once boating starts, it will be a great outing for Chennai residents and others,” said M. Subramanain, Chennai Mayor.

Deccan Chronicle/23.12.2009

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