Floating Islands I have heard. But have you heard floating laboratory? earlier i had written about Loktak lake- click to read it What is common between a #deer and #dance? #Manipur
If a report in The Hindu of March 18, 2018 on page 9 of Jacob Koshy, is to be believed then a floating laboratory three days a week, four women in white lab coats traverse the Loktak Lake of Imphal in a motorboat, Scooping flaskfuls of water for analysis.
Changes in temperature is recorded, conductivity and dissolved-oxygen in 300 sq km lake. As it happens everywhere on earth the rising urbanization and land use change over the years has seen the Loktak Lake become a dump yard for municipal waste.
I don’t blame people of Imphal, since this commercial attitude and ignorance about risks of environmental degradation is rampant all over our country.
Chennai floods is most recent example of partially man-made disaster. Few said that encroaching upon natural cooum (as it is called?? Spelling?) or water bodies interconnected with rivulets, nallahs, canals resulted in such a disaster. Run off water in rains could not go to the rivers and reach sea, caused it to be accumulated in the city.
I have read somewhere that de-silting and evicting encroachment on such water bodies has been started now.
But impact of such environmental degradation results in many such disaster. Loktak Lake of Imphal is not new to this exploitation. Residents have not woken up to this hardship faced by Loktak Lake. It is historic, Tourist interest spot, a water body, that gives shelter to ecosystem of its own, floating islands and most famous Sangai Deer. Keeping it clean and alive is responsibility of residents of Imphal.
The floating islands in Loktak Lake were the full of biodiversity and ecosystem. It has sustained life for so many centuries.
How can I blame people of Imphal? When I cannot do anything to keep clean River Goddess Mother Ganga. Fate of all such water bodies is in hands of people residing on banks.
As per the report, Rajkumari supriya a researcher at Institute of Bioresources and sustainable Development (IBSD), said her colleagues, as part of routine, first measure preliminary characteristics of the water on boat and then follow it up with more analysis at their lab. “Over there we calculate the biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, chloride test and nitrogen levels” she said, Koshy has written in his article.
The article also cites, Dinabandhu Sahoo, director, IBSD who said “Everyone talks about carbon dioxide levels, but nitrogen pollution is a major silent threat and already there are signs of calcium anomalies in some of the mollusc and other aquatic life in the lake”.
This is similar to the phenomenon of coral bleaching in oceans, where rising sea surface temperature cause organisms that live on corals to disengage, thereby killing the corals themselves. The model of floating laboratory ties in with large initiative by centre’s DBT to monitor health of aquatic systems in northeast.
DBT also had announced plan to have multiple boats cruising the 3500 km Brahmaputra river and collecting water samples to track its health.
I would like to add that there were reports in media about some activity in the Chinese side of Brahmaputra river water, threat emanating from those reports is also a cause of concern for safety of people along the river Brahmaputra. But such activity of checking health of water system is must for all over our country. Even similar things are required for Ganga and certainly department concern must be doing all this. I have had heard over the years about pollution of Ganga, more particularly at Kanpur. Where many tanneries functioned. But all over the bank of Ganga and Yamuna many cities burden rivers with their sewage, garbage. Imagine the river Ganga starts accumulating waste of human civilization from the tip of Himalayas, from the source itself, Gangotri as it is called.
There was another disaster at the Kedarnath temple. Amazingly the temple remained protected but all surrounding areas succumbed. People go on pilgrimage and few go on tourism activities on Himalayas. When there is human intrusion in Nature’s pure environments, they do not think that they should keep it as pure as it is. People always disturb the balance, by doing many things, such as Throwing garbage (most of it is plastic that do not degrade), contaminate water and earth (many things chemically effect either the nature’s purity or pose danger to life (aquatic or terrestrial). From Rishikesh, Haridwar, Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad then to Kashi (Varanasi), Patna, Kolkata River reaches the sea. On the way gets contamination.
Health of River or any water body is always helpful to its residents and also those who live around it.
In Loktak Lake, health of lake also effects the Phumdis or the floating islands on the lake. These islands made of mix of vegetation and soil, coalesce to form a thick mat that, for centuries, have hosted human settlements and fishing settlements. Fishing is one option for livelihood that depends on Loktak Lake, it offers food and livelihood people residing on it and near to Loktak lake.
Floating islands gave few people to make their shelter. now since they have encroached upon the lake the space once taken over by people it is difficult to vacate it.
Now even floating school has been established, that provides proof of the extent of encroachment in the Loktak Lake.
The pH level of the lake as per measurements so far, varies from 6.8 to 7.2 (ideally it should be slightly below 7). Lots of things at stake, the heritage of centuries, an amazing ecosystem, a water body, the aquatic life and wildlife, Sangai Loktak Deer.
And I am more worried that our whole heritage of folk lore, folk tradition will be at risk. Always at the threat of becoming extinct. Manipur Dance and Music will be poor if Loktak Lake and Sangai deer are lost?