Kannur, 28 July 2018:The Kannur Kandal project initiated by Apollo Tyres, in partnership with Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) celebrated UNESCO-mandated international day for the conservation of mangroves at Kannur, Kerela. Honourable Kannur Mayor, Ms EP Latha was the Chief Guest at the event, which was also attended by senior Government and Forest officials, representatives of Apollo Tyres and WTI, community members and academia.
The Kannur Kandal project aims at ensuring the survival of the existing mangroves and increase acreage of such habitats across Kannur, potentially making it a prototype for other coastal districts of Kerala and a model for rest of the country. The NSS volunteers of Payyanur College presented a skit titled ‘Mangroves: For the coming generations…’.
The project is based in Kunhimangalam village, which is one of the largest mangrove villages of Kerala. Kunhimangalam has established a Mangrove Interpretation Centre located in the natural ecosystem for mangrove-based research and education and for promotion of mangrove restoration through community and government participation. A mangrove nursery has been established and community-based initiatives are launched to enhance public awareness and reduce threats to mangroves. Special efforts are being made to generate scientific interest about mangroves among the youth. In the last fiscal year, the project was able to reach out to over 10,000 stakeholders and has developed a nursery with 3,000 saplings, which is being used for mangrove restoration.
Shri Vishwa Bandhu Bhattacharya, Group Manager – Sustainability, Apollo Tyres Limited said during the welcome address that “the Kannur Kandal project is modelled on a multi stakeholder approach for the conservation of mangroves through the involvement of youths, government bodies and communities”
Vivek Menon, ED and CEO of WTI, said during his presidential speech, “Even Kannur boasts of its large mangrove cover in Kerala, for such a large coastline it is very less. It is the responsibility of all us to conserve and protect our shoreline protectors”.
Shri K.Karthikeyan; IFS, Chief Conservator of Forests, Kannur Circle, Dr Jaffer Palot, Scientist, ZSI, V.C.Balakrishnan, Coordinator, Kerala State Biodiversity Board, Shri. C.V Rajan, Divisional Forest Officer- Flying Squad, Kannur were other dignitaries present at the event.
Mangrove forests are unique ecosystems, extremely rich in biodiversity, growing along inter-tidal coastal habitats such as shorelines, estuaries and backwaters. They are both refugees and nurseries for a large variety of threatened terrestrial and aquatic species, and an important source of fodder, medicines and firewood for people living in coastal communities. They also act as barriers against cyclones and tsunamis, prevent coastal erosion and maintain inland water quality by preventing seawater intrusion.