Adyar Poonga snippets
The TN government is preparing for the inauguration of the Adyar Poonga and also, cautiously, making efforts to kick off the restoration of the sprawling estuary — about 300 acres up to the Thiru Vi Ka bridge near Dr MGR Arts and Science College. After the delay in getting environmental clearance for the Adyar Poonga, the Chennai River Restoration Trust (CRRT), in charge of the restoration of the ecologically-sensitive wetland, is keen on addressing such issues before jumping into the projectlaunch. “Unlike the Adyar Poonga, environmental clearance will be sought for the estuary from the relevant agencies before the foundation is laid,” said a government official. The CRRT has a master plan for the restoration prepared by IF&LS, Eco Smart in October last year. The consultant’s plan has four components — protection of bunds with appropriate plantation of species, removal of accumulated silt, improvements in sanitation and ensuring tidal activities. The plan suggests that the CRRT be involved in identifying the problems but adds that agencies like the Chennai Coporation and Metrowater will have to resolve the problems in a time-bound manner. With support from the department of environment, the CRRT is likely to get the necessary clearance. The Adyar river, which originates near the Chembarambakkam tank in neighbouring Tiruvallur district, is an important waterway for the city. The other is the Cooum. At its mouth (estuary), the Adyar takes a bend forming the creek. The estuary extends from the sandbar at the edge of the sea to the Adyar bridge, with small islands in between, and covers an area of about 300 acres. Along its 42-km-long journey to the Bay of Bengal, the Adyar is joined by the Mambalam and Buckingham canals and many stormwater drains. Over a period of time, the estuary has degraded due to sewage outflows, blocking of drainage channels with debris, silt in the creek bed, encroachments, dumping of garbage and landfills and encroachments by private properties, resulting in flooding during monsoon. There are also pockets of bio-diversity that require preservation. “Worse, waste from tanneries in Pammal and Naggelkeni near Pallavaram and raw sewage from residential colonies of Nandambakkam continue to be let out into the river,” said an environmentalist, associated with the restoration programme. In its continuous efforts to spearhead the campaign against water pollution, the CRRT has organised workshops and awareness programmes in the village panchayats and town panchayats falling near the Adyar river since August last year. The river which flows crystal clear between Agaram South, Malaimbakkam and Sirukulathur, becomes a sewage carrier later. It is influenced by sewage outlets from villages like Irandam Kattalai, Kollacheri, Kolumanivakkan, Chikarayapuram, Gerugambakkam, Tharapakkam, Thandalam, Moulivakkam and Mugalivakkam. The members of the various panchayats, including presidents and vice-presidents, self help groups and village health workers are brought to the Poonga in the afternoon as part of the sensitisation programme. “Each time they are brought to the Poonga, the villagers are awestruck by the amazing developments. The restoration of the creek, however, will succeed only on the restoration of the entire estuary and the members understand the hardships,” officials pointed out. Soon, representatives of the Mugalivakkam and Moulivakkam village panchayats will be sensitised on environmental degradation.