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‘Alien weed spreading in Pampa river’

G. K. Nair Kochi | Updated on October 12, 2012 Published on October 12, 2012

The holy river Pampa, which has already been a victim of indiscriminate human intervention and high levels of pollution has, of late, become a fertile area for invasive weeds native to America.

A recent study conducted by the Pampa Parirakshana Samithy (PPS), an NGO, found spreading presence of Cabomba, a fast-growing submerged aquatic species along the Aranmula stretch of the river, Mr N.K. Sukumaran Nair, general secretary of the PPS, told Business Line.

He said the aquatic weed Cabomba ( Caomba caroliniana), native to America, generally grows in stagnant or slow-flowing water bodies. This weed is spreading in the Pampa and its tributaries and in Kuttanad water system. Its regeneration is very fast, he said.

According to Mr Nair, its growth along the river should be taken as a threat to the river system. With its dense strands that obstruct free flow of water, increased silting of river. It contains high degree of allelopathic chemicals, which influence the growth and survival of other species.

The alien weed has the capacity to change the entire ecology of water bodies. “Unfortunately, the scientific community and the government agencies do not appear to be concerned. The major factor which promotes the growth of this weed is the high nutrient content of water. The source of nutrients is sewage, agro-chemicals and land washouts,” he said.

The Pampa biodiversity conservation programme addresses wetland conservation issues throughout the river Pampa basin by strengthening the involvement of the people to develop sustainable livelihoods and manage wetland biodiversity resources.

PPS has urged authorities to initiate immediate steps to declare the Pampa river as a ‘Biodiversity Heritage Site (Protected Zone)’ in accordance with the provisions of the Biodiversity Act 2002 and formulate an action plant to protect the biodiversity of the river.

Published on October 12, 2012
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