Gangolli’s dirty little secret1 min read
Kundapur (Udupi): On a hot April afternoon last year, in the shade of a banyan tree, Babu Rai had seen this coming. “Come back after a few years and you will see the entire place filled with tiles,” he – a potbellied fisherman at Gangolli estuary – had said.
A hot destination for migratory birds, Gangolli has worsened since TMJ last reported about the estuary falling prey to human interference and pollution. The mild smell of fish, characteristic of the coastal air, has been replaced by the stench of decaying logs of wood strewn along the coastline. The mountains of discarded tiles from the factories nearby have multiplied in both number and size. A pipe drains the sewage from local houses into the estuarine waters that are home to some of the finest strands of mangrove forests. A local fisherman, perched on a heap of mixed garbage, complained that the local municipality does not regularly collect waste.
Nothing has changed in Gangolli. The ‘Wetland of International Importance’ label under the UNESCO’s Ramsar Convention remains elusive. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the convention recognises only 25 wetlands of India – a negligible fraction of existing wetland habitats throughout the country.