September 24, 2016
Ignorant and uncaring to the damage they are causing, some cattle rearers in Coimbatore are burning the shoots of grass on dry lake beds to allow new growth, to provide their cattle have fresh and tender grass to graze on.
But this has dire, far reaching impacts, sabotaging the ecosystem of lakes by destroying important plants and insect species, and disturbing local and migratory birds.
Residents from around the Valankulam Lake area noticed smoke emanating from the lake bed on Saturday around noon. “This is a common sight during noon time; we know that it is done mostly by farmers,” said A Jeeva, a resident. She pointed out that frequent complaints are made to the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation on the issue.
N Jagadeeshan, Assistant Professor at the Department of Agriculture Extension at the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU) elucidates the gravity of the situation. “A healthy ecosystem in lakes depends on the existence of each species, and the loss of even a single species of insect or bird could result in major imbalances,” he said. He added that cattle farmers imprudently do the same even in forest areas to provide cattle the fresh grass that they prefer.
“The cattle may not feed properly if the vegetation is thick and the plants are tough to chew on. But clearing tall bushes can result in chaos,” he says. “For example, some species of butterfly larvae feed only on certain plants and when they are destroyed, the species move on.”
M Yoganathan, a conductor turned conservationist claimed that even some bird species may leave the lake when plants where they breed are destroyed.
“The administration must act fact and also make sure that water is distributed evenly to all lakes,” he told the Covai Post.
Corporation Commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan, who directed officials to put out the fire, said that the corporation would take action in the issue.