Uppanar backwater region unsuitable for reforestation of mangroves: Madras HC told – The New Indian Express

Chennai News

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Environment, Climate Change and Forests department has told the Madras High Court that an inspection by a committee of three technical experts and two government officials revealed that the Uppanar backwater region in Cuddalore district is not suitable for mangrove reforestation due to the environmental conditions.Additional Advocate General (AAG) J Ravindran recently submitted the committee’s report before the first bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy.

On visiting the backwater region in Sothikuppam village, the committee found the slope of the bank very steep, substratum in almost all parts sandy, extent of intertidal area ranging from 0 to 3 m, tidal current very strong, reaching up to 0.49 m per second, and salinity of the backwater region as high as 42 gm/litre, while the level required for healthy mangroves is 10-20 gm/litre.

These conditions are not favourable for large-scale plantation of mangroves, the panel opined, adding that the steep slope and micro tidal amplitude conditions leave a very narrow an inadequate intertidal area. The strong current causes high soil erosion and inhibits root establishment of mangrove seedlings, it added. It further observed the presence of 1-1.5 hectares of mudflat associated with the linear patches of mangroves. The mudflat should not be disturbed by planting mangroves since it is a feeding ground for many water birds such as spoon bills and egrets.

After a critical analysis of the environmental conditions, the committee found the Uppanar backwater region unsuitable for mangrove forestation.The study was held after the court directed the department to look into the possibility while hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by Arujanan Elayaraja, secretary of Cuddalore-based NGO Alamaram. He had sought orders to take up reforestation on a stretch of 15 km along the shoreline of the Uppanar backwater region where mangroves were badly damaged by the 2015 floods.The bench said a final decision would be taken after the AAG meets the committee, and posted the matter to April 19.

Source: https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/apr/17/uppanar-backwater-region-unsuitable-for-reforestation-of-mangroves-madras-hc-told-2442953.html