Ecosystem, described as a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment, is unfortunately now getting limited to books. Ice bergs melting in Antartica is too far off to touch hearts. Floods in Uttrakhand might touch a nerve but then “life moves on.” Unless, we experience the loss, we don’t understand the magnitude of damage being caused. Ironically, we are waiting for a natural calamity to wake us up because we have now become immune to the “news” we hear on a day-to-day basis. The Art of Living Foundation has been trying to connect the dots.
The organisation, under the guidance of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, has been living by Vasudeva Kutumbakam- one world family. We all (and not just humans) are a part of this one world family.
Heart warming stories of localities and the local administration coming together to protect the aquatic life need to be told. Art of Living was heartened to see localities of Neelankarai approach the organisation to save fish in Sengeniamman Temple Tank. Hundreds of fish dying every day was a cause of concern for the people and the health officials of Chennai Corporation. The Executive Engineer and Zonal Health Officer of Zone 15 reached out to the The Art of Living for a solution. As part of its Namma Ooru! Namma Kulam! Initiative to holistically and scientifically revive 423 water bodies in Chennai, the Art of Living Foundation took up the task.
Based on the request, the Zonal Health Officer arranged to collect water samples from 4 different areas of the Pond using sampling guidelines and handed them over to an NABL certified Lab within 2 hours. Pond Water was tested for 3 quality parameters including BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand), COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and DO (Dissolved Oxygen) to identify reasons for the death of fish and benchmark the values before commencing the Eco Enzyme treatment. The reports found that dissolved oxygen was way less than the threshold of 2.0 mg/L and served as an indicator of the extent of oxygen depletion in water that resulted in death of fish. BOD and COD showed the high amount of organic pollution in the water.
In consultation with their team of water management experts, The Art of Living determined the quantum of Eco Enzyme required, dilution ratio in fresh water and duration of dilution. A fire engine was arranged with a capacity to hold 9000 litres of water. 45 litres of Eco Enzyme was diluted in this water for a period of 24 hours.
Within a week of Eco Enzyme treatment, the pond water was once again tested. The Dissolved Oxygen got back to normal levels at 2.8 and was reflected by the stoppage of fish death and a number of small fish thriving. BOD fell under the permissible level. COD was reduced by more than 60% and will fall below the permissible level of 50 mg/L within 30 days.
Taking a note of the success of this initiative, the Regional Deputy Commissioner (South) has requested The Art of Living to orient the Corporation officials in pond water management methods, prepare Standard Operating Procedures for handling such situations and make available a panel of experts for consultation.
Today, it is wonderful to see several thousands of small fish thriving in the pond since the Eco Enzyme treatment. The locals are happy to see that the fish life has been revived. Right from the eye that notices to the voice that reaches out, the brain that thinks and the hands and feet that get together to put the plan in action, it takes a whole world to establish harmony. The hope is to take baby steps to revive the ponds, the river and the living beings! The idea is to understand that ‘we belong to each other!
Namma Ooru! Namma Kulam! is a unique Pond Revival program with the goal to produce a sustained impact. It includes –
- Enzyme Treatment of Water to break down organic content and bring water quality within permissible limits
- Desilting and Deepening the Pond and Strengthening its Bund to increase water storage capacity and recharge ground water
- Remove Solid Waste and Weeds from the Pond
- Securing the Pond with fence and compound walls with gates to prevent encroachments
- Plant Trees to provide green cover and improve bio diversity
- Awareness Campaigns to involve local community for sustenance
As Namma Ooru! Namma Kulam! The Art of Living volunteers in Chennai will be reviving 423 Water Bodies, including 145 Corporation Water Bodies, 39 Temple Tanks and PWD and other remaining Water Bodies