Kerala’s Mangrove Foundation not a worthy idea

Is it worthy to form a foundation for the protection of Mangroves? It is an emphatic ‘No’. The Kerala government’s move to form a Forum/Foundation for mangrove and marine conservation is said to be a futile exercise, an idea mooted  with no understanding.  

Kerala Forest Minister K Raju had last week, as part of International Mangrove Day, announced the formation of a Mangrove and Marine Foundation for the conservation of mangrove and marine life. The Minister had made the announcement after the state forest department submitted a proposal for the same.

However, environmentalists involved in mangrove conservation for decades have called the move to form a Foundation as irrational and said that the government had only come up with such a proposal without giving much thought.

Stressing that no Forum or Foundation as envisaged by the government was going to give any desired results, noted environmentalist and a mangrove expert V K Madhusoosdanan told kadapuram that the government should have given much thought for conservation of mangroves rather than going for forming a Foundation.    

“We do not need any Foundation or Forum for protecting the mangroves here. This foundation or forum is not going to help in any way. We already have a mechanism and also manpower for protecting our mangroves. What we need is a proper guideline,” he said and added that the government should take the initiative for framing proper guidelines.  

Noting that lots of area needs to be planted with mangrove in the state, he said that the state had the man power, especially volunteers, who are ready to save the mangroves. “What we need is a moral boost and a proper guidance. The government as well as the forest department should take the initiative,” he said.    

With respect to the idea of forming a Mangrove Cell, Madhusoodanan said that it was a welcome step. Noting that there was still confusion regarding the protection of mangroves, he said that the forest department are yet to digest the fact that they are the custodian of the mangroves and its preservation comes under them. “The forest department should take the initiative and responsibility,” he said.  

Meanwhile Anandan, kin of Kallen Pokkudan, also was of the opinion that no such Foundation or Forum is going to give any results. He also noted that the government should have first discussed with the people who have dedicated their life to mangrove preservation and then come out with any new forum or foundation. “But no need for any foundation or Forum as it is not going to help,” he said.  

He also questioned the government’s policy on mangrove protection. “Instead of making announcements, the government should have come out with clear cut policy regarding mangrove protection and conservation. Does the government have any practical solution?” he said.

Anandan also blamed the government of not having conducted a preliminary study on mangroves on beaches. “Without even a preliminary study, I am not sure how the Foundation is going to help the environment,” he said.  

He was also of the opinion that there were lots of volunteers and NGOs and lots of dedicated people who are willing to protect our environment. “The panchayats and schools near the coastal areas could be roped in for protecting our beaches. The government proposes to form the Mangrove and Marine Foundation with the participation experts, public and officials for the conservation of mangroves and marine life. The Foundation has been mooted with the idea of planting mangroves along the coastal belt and also strengthening the existing ones.

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