Growing City, Displaced Flamingos

Samyak Kaninde

Samyak Kaninde

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Seen here are a flock of flamingos, flying past buildings constructed close to the Kelambakkam backwaters. Mushrooming "lake view" apartments are all set to cause serious disturbance to the birds in the form of loss of habitat, noise, garbage and other pollution. It won't be long before the waters disappear due to thoughtless, short-sighted and large scale development.

Kelambakkam is a brackish backwater lagoon situated near Chennai. The backwaters are heaven for waders, gulls, terns, pelicans, painted storks and cormorants. Greater flamingos have been spotted here regularly. During migration season, a lot of waders such as (Eurasian curlew, whimbrel, lesser and greater sand plovers, terns (little/gull billed/Caspian/whiskered), gulls, redshanks, greenshanks, stints, black winged stilts, pied avocets etc., are seen here. Kelambakkam is around 30 kms from Chennai city, and was pretty much undisturbed – until recently. Industrial and population growth have pushed the city limits much further out, and places like these are prime targets for development.

A similar thing happened to the Pallikaranai marsh which is closer to the city. Should environmental clearances be made a norm, before development is allowed in such places?

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