For a healthy body, the well being of the mind is pivotal, goes an age old saying. It was not just the backwaters that had turned into a dumping ground for harmful waste, even the smelly banks was draining out the lifeblood of Kavvayi. Like a dire need of the hour, Kavvayi is returning back to its days of glory. Those who have previously witnessed the derelict state of the backwaters are amazed at the transformation.
The third largest backwater of Kerala and the largest in North Kerala, Kavvayi was once a rich and reliable source of water and aquatic life. It was also known for its biodiversity and as a hotspot for migration of mussels, crabs, shrimp and other fish species. Many uninhabited islets and groves surround the Kavvayi backwaters and the Arabian Sea is a close neighbour too.
The bunds that were created for ease of transportation were ultimately detrimental to the health of the water body. The currents flow began to be affected and the stagnancy led to the piling up of waste and impurities.
The First step
The main issue was with one of the rivulets of the Kavvayi backwaters - the Orri Eddakki River. The entire village got together to refurbish this polluted river, and in turn Kavvayi benefitted too. The bunds that were controlling the flow were the actual villain here. The fish began to die from this and the polluted standing water spread skin diseases too. The surrounding wells also saw discolouration and taste differences of the water. The District Panchayat collaborated with this initiative and almost Rs.41 lakhs was invested into making the waters of the Eddakki River clean again.
The Second Step
The decaying and terrible smelling algae on both ends of the Madakkal Bunds were giving the Kavvayi a hard time indeed. The banks of the Udumbunthala, was the most affected spot. The polluted water was affecting the people with diseases and skin infections. Malayala Manorama was one among the first that put forth the immediate need to open up the embankments. After repeated news on this began flooding the media, a small council for the protection of water bodies took up the issue and invested Rs. 8 Lakhs for the cause. Once the bund was opened, Kavvayi was able to breathe freely again. Including Edayilekkad, Kavvayi is today a success story when it comes to setting the standards for cleanliness.
More to come
One of the longest hanging bridges in Kerala that was built over the Madakkal River which is part of the Kavvayi, is like a nasty blot that occurred in the recent times. The bridge fell to its downfall within 58 days of its completion. The ruins still lie in the middle of the river.
Encroachment and unscientific interventions have led to the number of islands around Kavvayi diminishing soon enough. The 34 metre long backwaters had about 22 islands and among this, the Kamchira Island has been wiped out completely. The bunds that were built on these bought about various environmental issues to the islands like Kallumothu, Edayilakkad, Kurukkan Mashe, Vaddakkekad, Purathallu, Orri, Kunjimaadu, Chembante Maadu.
The ecosystem of the islands is diverse in flora and fauna with scenic locales too. Encroachers, illegal land filling, sand mining, destruction of the mangrove forests, not rotating crops and the entry of hybrid vegetation is slowly destroying the water body. The problems faced by the Edayilakkad and the Madakkal banks should be the focus in the near future.