Nizhal’s project to preserve Chitlapakkam lake steps into fifth year

Members of Neer Vanam of Nizhal at Chitlapakkam Lake.

Chennai: Efforts to restore and renovate the Chitlapakkam lake is being carried out by various organisations. Nizhal, is one such group that has taken the steps to preserve the waterbody through sensitive greening processes and is working with communities. The NGO started the work in February 2016 and has now completed four years.

Speaking to News Today, Bhargavi, a member of the Chitlapakkam Eri Neer Vanam of Nizhal said that the initiative has drawn a tremendous response from the residential communities in the area.

‘The project was initiated in 2010 and the work started in 2016. It is being carried out with the guidance of Nizhal founder Shobha Menon and T D Babu,’ she added.She said that the aim of the group is to create a green corridor around the waterbody that will be a bio-shield and provide strength to the bunds/banks thus preventing breaching during floods.

‘This will be done through eco-restoration process in which indigenous tree species will be planted around the waterbody. It will also help in conserving aquatic ecosystem and facilitate better water management system and will act as a protective barrier that prevents access to heavy vehicles that drain pollutants into the water,’ she explained.

She added that every alternate day, a committed volunteer group waters the 200 saplings. On weekends, there are more volunteers who join for tree care sessions.

‘Composting points have been created where dry leaves are converted into compost. The volunteers have also been conducting tree walks for school students and members of the public to create a sense of ownership about this green space,’ she said.

Bhargavi said that the success of this model lies in synergy of Government, Corporates and Community as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and can be replicated around waterbodies in Kancheepuram and Chennai districts.