No Munroe Island is not sinking but that does not stop the

first_imgA final report on the island’s ecological problems will be ready by mid-2020, he said.The Munroe islandThe man-made island, a part of which is a delta formed by the Kallada river, is named after Colonel John Munroe, a Scottish administrator who served as the Diwan of the princely states of Cochin and Travancore in the 19th century. For his progressive reforms and contributions towards the landless and peasant communities, the natives remembered him dearly. He led land reclamation efforts in the delta region during his time.Munroe Thuruth, or island, is a group of eight islets over an area of 13.4 sq.km and was a fertile hub for coconut and shrimp farming and coir industry for many decades. The island also holds potential as an upcoming tourist destination with foreign travellers flocking in large numbers to take boat rides through the canals amid what’s left of the mangrove swamps.Munroe island, Kerala munroe island, kerala sinking island, kollam, kollam news, kollam sinking island, indian express Men, earlier engaged in coconut and coir farms, have taken to picking clams these days in inland canals. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran, 13th June 2019)But because of its unique location, being at the confluence of two large water sources, flooding became a perennial problem. Due to inadequate cleaning of the inland canals, criss-crossing the island, and deposition of silt from the river, locals began to experience increasing instances of delay in the water receding after a flood. The problem, they claim, got amplified after the damming of the Kallada river, 70 kms away from the island, blocking the supply of freshwater into the island. And then in 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami struck and may have left behind profound changes in the backwater system, including increasing salinity in the soil. Top News P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Advertising Chandrayaan-2 launch on July 22 at 2.43 pm: ISRO More Explained Advertising Chandrayaan-2 launch on July 22 at 2.43 pm: ISRO Bhadran, whose home at Pattamthuruth West on the island, floods regularly through tidal erosion. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran, 13th June 2019)Ramachandran at NCESS said global warming and accelerated rise in sea levels can only be contributing factors, but not the main reasons behind the island’s environmental problems.“We have done continuous analysis of tidal flooding using different instruments. We found that the tide setting near the coast with a maximum height of 1 metre even at the highest spring tide, that amplitude is not completely transmitted to inside 10.5 kilometers away from the mouth of the sea, near Munroe Island. It is approximately less than 50 per cent of the tide felt along the open coast. So even during the highest spring tide, we found that it does not flood,” he said.“It’s not the tide alone. It’s not the accelerated sea level. All these must be contributing but there is something happening within the Ashtamudi lake. There’s some kind of internal resonance which we are yet to decode,” he added.Amphibious housingThe concept of lightweight housing, that can be of a floating nature or even built on stilts, has been introduced in the Munroe island as a solution to the rehabilitation of its residents. With newly-built concrete houses sinking within a matter of years, locals are open to new housing options.Munroe island, Kerala munroe island, kerala sinking island, kollam, kollam news, kollam sinking island, indian express A prototype of the amphibious housing project kickstarted by the ruling CPM on the island. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran, 13th June 2019, Cochin)Gopinath, who used to be a sand worker before retiring due to health reasons, is a beneficiary of a new amphibious housing project begun by the ruling CPM which uses lightweight, water-resistant materials designed by experts. The house has a PUF insulated metal roof and a chemical toilet that can withstand floods.“I had an old tiled-roof house that would get frequently flooded during high tides. The party has built this new house for me and it has a stronger foundation,” he said.KN Balagopal, former Rajya Sabha MP who pointed to the plight of Munroe’s residents in Parliament, said instead of relocating people from the island, they must be offered incentives to stay there. P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies “There must be mechanisms introduced for their well-being. Travel arrangements should be made for them. Amphibious housing can be implemented. New cropping systems can be proposed,” he said, over the phone. Best Of Express Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Written by Vishnu Varma | Updated: July 2, 2019 4:21:15 pm Munroe island, Kerala munroe island, kerala sinking island, kollam, kollam news, kollam sinking island, indian express Dozens of families have deserted their homes on the Munroe island to move to higher lands. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran, 13th June 2019)For sometime now, the idyllic island of Munroe in Kollam district of Kerala has regularly found a place in the news cycle for its supposed phenomenon of sinking. The residents largely believed that the land on which they were living for generations was gradually subsiding due to tidal erosion and rise in sea levels and began leaving in droves looking for safer pastures. The island, located at the joining of the Kallada river and the expansive Ashtamudi backwaters which opens out to the sea at Neendakara, has been flagged over the years by environmentalists and locals as the unambiguous casualty of global warming. But now, scientists, who have been conducting studies on the island for the last two years, are close to invalidating the theory of land subsidence. Geo-scientists at the National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS) have deduced with the help of data collected so far that only the heavy built-ups, such as houses and other structures constructed on the island, are subsiding, not the land itself.Munroe island, Kerala munroe island, kerala sinking island, kollam, kollam news, kollam sinking island, indian express Due to absence of motorable roads, transportation within the midwestern parts of the island is mainly done through canals. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran, 13th June 2019)“When we began studies two years ago, we went ahead with the premise that the land is subsiding. But with our observations from the satellite microwave interferometric technique and those in-situ from an array of GPS stations continuously monitoring the island, we can tentatively conclude that the land, as such, is not subsiding. Since the mud below is highly fluidised, only the very heavy buildings built without proper engineering techniques are going down, some even 1 to 1.5 feet,” said KK Ramachandran, the head of atmospheric processes, at NCESS, Thiruvananthapuram, over the phone.The double railway line that cuts through the island is a case in point, he said. Due to heavy traffic – close to 150 trains a day passing in either direction – the railway tracks have sagged at several places. “You can see the railway platform has subsided as well. People naturally doubt there is some kind of sinking, but the land is not subsiding. It’s just the houses, railway line and tourism projects built without proper engineering care that has gone down,” he added. Taking stock of monsoon rain Advertising On a recent visit to the island, the devastation in the coconut sector was palpable. Barren coconut stumps stood across the island, especially in the areas of Pattamthuruth and Peringalam that have been the most affected. Several houses, where families lived for generations, lay abandoned, its walls taken over by creepers and weeds. Drinking water supply is in doldrums, with piped water getting suspended during prolonged floods. The absence of a road and a railway overbridge virtually isolates the Pattamthuruth ward from the rest of the island. All of these factors have resulted in the migration of dozens of families, selling off their land and homes for dirt-cheap prices. The more sentimental ones cling on to their crumbling homes, hoping for change.Munroe island, Kerala munroe island, kerala sinking island, kollam, kollam news, kollam sinking island, indian express The Munroe Thuruth railway station on the main line connecting Thiruvananthapuram to rest of India. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran, 13th June 2019)“Like the lotus in the ponds, we keep floating here. Even if we want to sell our houses, there are no takers. Who wants to live here? The people here are mostly poor and cannot afford to buy land or a house elsewhere,” said Bhadran, whose home’s foundations are seeping into the mud below with every passing day.“Our relatives don’t visit anymore. They ask us to give up our home and go somewhere else. But where do we go?”With every tidal wave from the sea through the Ashtamudi lake, Bhadran’s front-yard gets flooded. In earlier years, the tides would be few and far between and he would have an idea of when they would come. But now, there’s a sense of resignation in his voice. He can’t predict anymore and he has given up. Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 0 Comment(s)last_img