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Pallikaranai Marshland: Present and Future

April 15, 2023 at 6:30:00 AM

Pallikaranai Marshland is a vast freshwater wetland in Chennai, adjacent to the Bay of Bengal. It plays a major role in resisting floods by acting as an aquatic buffer for the flood prone areas in Chengalpattu and Chennai. It is declared a Ramsar site in 2022 and is one of the few surviving marshlands in South India. Wetland regions that are given international value have been named Ramsar sites. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands' strict guidelines govern the way these wetlands are protected.

Even though it is located about 20 km from the heart of the city, the site is being threatened by urban wastewater, household sewage and non native invasive species. Sadly, this sensitive ecosystem is becoming a huge dump yard, as the residents of Chennai are unaware of the healing nature of wetlands and the need to conserve them and spread awareness for the same. As a result, the Conservation Authority of Pallikaranai Marsh along with Benny Kuriakose and Associates is currently implementing a site-specific management plan for the conservation of the ecosystem and utilising the immense opportunities the site offers.

This talk by Dr. Benny Kuriakose is on why he took up the project to conserve the marshes of Pallikaranai and the approach taken to make the walk more experiential for the visitors, taking into account the ecological sensitivity and varied biodiversity of the wetlands. He also talks about his conceptual master plan for the wetland conservation of Pallikaranai Marshes, which intends to create a multisensory experience for all, irrespective of their age.

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