Why in news?
- Researchers have warned that the shrinking Vembanad Lake would soon turn into a marshy land.
- According to a study conducted by the International Research and Training Centre for Below Sea-level Farming, plants have started to grow in areas where the lake’s depth has decreased due to accumulation of silt.
- As these plants start to grow taller, the lake would become a swamp.
- Increase in encroachments and lack of conservation have added to the problem.
- Earlier, the Kuttanad farmers used to dig out the silt and sediments accumulated in the lake bed to fill the fields and for other farming purposes, but now that is rarely practised, resulting in a marked dip in the lake’s depth.
- Many studies had found that accumulation of silt and presence of water weeds had blocked the outflow of water, resulting in water logging in Kuttanad.
- It is reported that Piranhas (red belly fish) are found in the Vembanad Lake. (Piranha, a predatory species that feeds on other fish and animals, is a freshwater fish native to South America and its rearing has been banned by the Kerala Fisheries Department).
- The floods of 2019 have enabled piranhas to find their way to the Vembanad Lake.
About the lake
- Vembanad Lake is also known as Vembanad Kayal, Vembanad Kol, Punnamada Lake (in Kuttanad) and Kochi Lake (in Kochi).
- It is the longest lake in India and the largest in Kerala.
- It is a popular backwater stretch in Kerala.
- Vallam Kali also known as Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a Snake Boat Race held every year in the month of August in Vembanad Lake.
- It was included in the list of wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 2002.
- The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the lake.