Build Less Plant More: A Look On Landslides in Idukki
Paulo Coelho wrote,
“How can we be so arrogant? The planet is, was, and always will be stronger than us. We can’t destroy it; if we overstep the mark, the planet will simply erase us from the surface and carry on existing. Why not we start talking about not letting the planet destroy us? Because saving the planet gives a sense of power, action and nobility where as not letting the planet destroy us might lead to feelings of despair and impotence and to the realization of just how very limited our capabilities are.”
The choice is between whether to build or to plant. Every day we come across various discussions about reducing plastic waste, recycling, and limiting the use of natural resources etc. I think the most important matter to address is construction. Utmost care should be taken while constructing in an ecologically fragile hill station like ours (Idukki). Construction of any nature shouldn’t be allowed in a slope of more than 30 degree, slope lesser than 30 degree has a self retaining capacity and hence a chance of a landslide is remote. The main factor which leads to over usage of slopes in Western Ghats is the construction of new roads. Elected representatives of people, who don’t have a clear vision about the developmental activities of the area which they belong to, often get misled to some short term gains and uses public funds to construct roads without conducting necessary studies on the impact on environment. The final outcome is disastrous as we have seen a few days ago in Idukki District. No roads should be constructed in a slope of more than 20 degree, and now that we are nearly saturated with roads, the better way to use public funds is to repair and maintain existing roads, to construct better revetments and to adopt better soil stabilization techniques like planting Vettiver etc, so that disasters of this magnitude could be avoided in all monsoons to come.
Construction of Hotels and Resorts is yet another concern. There should be stringent rules and regulations to curtail unethical developments. There should be rules to minimize footprints of buildings, regulations to limit the maximum height of the buildings to 6m or 9m. Before taking a decision to build something in Western Ghats the people concerned should make sufficient studies and should appoint good architects who have sufficient technical know-how about the terrain they are going to construct in.
Hope all the future developments in Western Ghats will have concentrated efforts to plant more and to build less. In other words we will all work together to plant very special amenities which can address all or most of the concerns which are relevant in this context. Let all the people who come to visit us enjoy the vista, clap their hands, and let the breeze they enjoy purify their minds, cool the hot, and let everything turn for good!!!!!!