How greed and apathy are destroying the East Kolkata Wetlands

Last Modified: Sun May 07 2017 11:12:40 GMT+0530 (India Standard Time)
  • 12,500
    Spread of the East Kolkata Wetlands site. World-renowned as a model of a multiple use wetland, the site’s resource recovery systems have been developed by local people through the ages. The wetland not only treats the city’s sewage but the treated water is utilized for pisciculture and agriculture, thus saving the city of Kolkata from the costs of constructing and maintaining waste water treatment plants.
  • 2006
    The East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Bill and subsequently Act were passed which paved the way for establishment of the East Kolkata Wetlands Management Authority (EKWMA) for conservation and management of the EKW. 10 years since, the EKWMA has largely been ineffective in preserving the wetlands.
  • 32
    mouzas (revenue villages) in the districts of North and South 24 Parganas in West Bengal make up the wetlands. The administration of the area spans 2 municipal bodies and 7 panchayats (rural governance bodies).
  • 14%
    Percentage of land in Bhagabanpur mouza (a rural administrative area) that is partly or completely under water for most of the year. This has dramatically reduced from 88% in 2002.
  • 50
    illegal plastic recycling units have sprung up in recent times.
  • 25
    + illegal leather-processing units boil leather waste in huge cauldrons, emitting noxious fumes. It is then spread to dry and subsequently shipped to tea gardens as manure. “Leather units release effluents into the sewage canals that feed the bheries which harm the fish. The air pollution around the cauldrons is also intolerably high.