Vellayani Lake Restoration endeavours supported by Adani Foundation
Restoring the "The Vital parts of the Ecosystem and Biodiversity Hubs"
Thiruvananthapuram: India, a land of contrasts and complexities, has embarked on a remarkable endeavour – the nationwide cleanliness drive. Amidst, this diverse landscape, Vellayani Lake, a precious freshwater resource in the heart of Kerala, has long been regarded as a vital natural asset for both the environment and the local community. Acknowledging the ecological and societal significance of this invaluable natural resource, the Adani Foundation has been protecting and repairing the ailing Vellayani Lake since 2020. A tailored strategy however, has put into practice during August and September of 2023 to tend to the remaining sections along the lake's periphery. This approach features the use of an earth- (Hitachi) positioned on a floating barge.
One of Kerala's three largest freshwater lakes, Vellayani Lake is located southeast of Thiruvananthapuram City and spans an extended north-south axis. This lake performs a number of functions, making it an essential component of the neighbourhood ecosystem. It was historically utilized for lotus farming and later as a source of drinking water for more than two lakh people.
However, recent years have seen a decline in the size of Vellayani Lake due to a variety of human activities, such as waste disposal and using the lake for rice cultivation. Additionally, the proliferation of water hyacinths and reduced water inflow from canals have negatively impacted the lake's health, resulting in issues like water hyacinth pollution and blockages in the waterways.
Responding to growing concerns raised by local panchayaths and environmentalists and with guidance from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) expert committee, the foundation has launched a comprehensive intervention to address the problems affecting Vellayani Lake. It has been the hands-on initiative of their over 100 staff members and local NGO, ‘Neerthadaka Paristhidi Samrakshana Samithi,’ to manually eliminate water hyacinth. Realizing the enormity of the task, they joined forces with the Minor Irrigation Department and Venganoor Panchayat as well. The foundation fully financed the use of a floating weed harvester for this collaborative endeavour, resulting in the successful clearance of the lake's central area of water hyacinth. The foundation has undertaken the cleaning of over 100 acres of land along the primary section of the Vavvamoola bund.
Vellayani Lake is divided by two bunds, the first bund encompassing 100-acre area has been cleaned with a specialized approach implemented in August-September 2023, involving an earth mover (Hitachi) mounted on a barge.
Speaking on the same, Rajesh Kumar Jha, MD & CEO – Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt Ltd (AVPPL) says, “This initiative showcases Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited’s (APSEZ) unwavering commitment to upholding our fundamental principles of environmental care and sustainability. We understand the importance of preserving the environment and promoting cleanliness as integral parts of our broader corporate vision. At APSEZ, we work towards achieving a balance between industrial progress and ecological well-being. We firmly believe that a pristine environment not only improves the quality of life for local communities but also paves the way for a sustainable future. As a demonstration of this dedication, the Adani Foundation has joined forces with the local Panchayath to address the areas on both sides of the second bund that have remained untouched, underscoring our steadfast pursuit of a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable ecosystem.”
As Vellayani Lake, a crucial freshwater supply in Trivandrum district, is facing rapid depletion. The Adani Foundation's dedicated initiatives to restore it as a freshwater source go beyond just physical weed removal; they also involve a community-focused awareness campaign. This holistic strategy has enabled local residents to actively participate in the lake's continuous upkeep, effectively stopping the re-emergence of weed mats. As a part of this initiative, Venganoor Panchayat has pledged to regularly and consistently remove water hyacinths on a weekly basis, ensuring the long-term sustainability of this invaluable freshwater reservoir.
Acknowledging Vellayani Lake's vital role as the ‘nurturing organs of the environment and hubs of biodiversity,’ the Adani Foundation is committed to actively involving and educating local communities, government authorities, and non-governmental organizations in the protection of this precious natural resource. To uphold the progress achieved so far, the foundation is committed to participating in on-site initiatives and working in partnership with the local Panchayat, NGOs, and inhabitants.
Through the implementation of these initiatives, the Adani Foundation is dedicated to securing the enduring vitality of Vellayani Lake, maintaining its status as a vital resource for life, a sanctuary for a rich tapestry of biodiversity, and an enduring testament to the remarkable impact that community-driven conservation endeavours can have on our environment.