WORLD WETLAND DAY
The Jalapaadom Habitat learning Project supported by WIPRO Applying
On every 2nd February, we celebrate World Wetlands Day (WWD) to mark the vital significance of wetland ecosystem services to humankind. Wetlands play a critical role in sustaining human life, and Vembanad wetlands support 1.5 million people directly and indirectly. Various activities for the World Wetland Day are being held since 2008 with schools, colleges and local communities of Vembanad.
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
CERC celebrates World Environment Day every year in connection with UNEP's theme. Environment day is celebrated by organizing activities, campaigns and awareness programs. Events are organized in collaboration with Government Departments, Grama Panchayats, and other organizations/institutions.
"Ayilyam Makam" is a traditionalistic ritual practised in Vembanad Lake by the fishermen, clam collectors and local community for sustaining the natural resources in the lake. The ritual includes offering prayers in two famous temples of the region (Thrikunnapuzha and Manarasala) and sprinkling the sacred seeds from the temples in the Lake for better production of fishes and clams.
Since the inception of ATREE CERC, one of the first initiatives was to revive the Ayliyam Makom tradition among the stakeholders, as it was not practised for many years. CERC has been supporting the traditional ritual as it brings oneness among the stakeholders.
The festival has high ecological significance as Ayilyam in Thulam (Malayalam Month) coincides with heavy showers and thunderstorm (North East monsoon) and is regarded as a breeding time for many fishes in Vembanad Lake.
The revival of such customs could strengthen their emotions for the Lake ecosystem and end up in behavioural changes towards the conservation and protection of Vembanad Lake. It also promotes cohesiveness among the fishermen as they observe such rituals in a team with joint spirit and for the next two days, stakeholders take rest as they believe after sprinkling the seeds the fishes breed.
NO STRAW CAMPAIGN
On 5th June 2019 on the occasion of World Environment Day, ATREE in association with Muhamma Panchayat put in order an action plan to make Muhamma a plastic free panchayat in a span of few months. As a part of this initiative Muhamma gramapanchayat and ATREE jointly conducted a campaign against the use of plastic straws in the Muhamma panchayat area on 26th July 2019. After an inaugral speech given by the Panchayat President, ATREE CERC staff and interns visited the popular shops and establishments to inform them about the campaign. Vikhnesh K S, (programme officer,ATREE) Reema Anand(Senior programme officer, ATREE) and K M Poov(Secretary of lake protection forum) briefed the shop owners and managers on the environmental impact of plastic straws and the need to switch to alternatives, which was followed by distribution of paper straws and gave the paper straw suppliers list to the shop owners. Posters made by ATREE interns were also put up in the shops as part of the campaign.
PATHIRAMANAL CLEANING DRIVE
Pathiramanal Island is one of the hotspot regions in Muhamma with its large variety of existing species of both flora and fauna. For the first time a cleaning drive was organized with the support of Panchayat, ATREE, Schools and that of the local community. This was to initiate an increase in awareness among people on the waste accumulation in Pathiramanal Island and to equip the local societies to work towards reducing plastic.
The second phase of cleaning initiative had been taken place by extending the collaboration
and involvement of various agencies and stakeholders. As part of the previous step an extended cleaning drive and awareness activities were organized in Pathiramanal Island. Members of Lake Protection Forum, College students from their concerned Earth clubs, N.S.S students, Members of Rotary clubs along with ATREE, and
Muhamma Panchayat constituting around 100 participants gathered for the cleaning drive. Provided awareness classes to students and interactions with local community had taken place along with the campaign to make them more concerned with the significance in conserving such an island rich in biodiversity. With the continuous efforts through campaigns, interactions and local participations a security guard was appointed by the Panchayat to restrict the entry of people for any sort of illegal activities.
'WEEDS FOR NEEDS'
The management of invasive species is especially challenging in tropical human- dominated landscapes. First, in these habitats, invasive species can exacerbate biodiversity crises by reducing the population densities of indigenous species, many of which fulfil subsistence needs of the rural poor. Here we propose an alternate management strategy that promotes the use of the invasive water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), a major threat to the Vembanad Lake Ecosystem. The project aims to develop Eco-friendly alternatives for products such as plates, pens stand, carry bags, paper etc. from Water Hyacinth.