‘Kolkata’s waterbodies lost to urbanisation’

Kolkata, June 17 (IANS) Urbanisation has claimed nearly half of Kolkata’s waterbodies in the last two-and-a-half decades, an environmentalist said on Wednesday.

“About two-and-a-half decades ago there were around 8,700 water bodies in Kolkata. Now there are 5,000. So nearly half have been lost, mostly due to urbanisation,” environmentalist and author Mohit Ray told IANS referring to a survey discussed in his newly launched book ‘Five Thousand Mirrors: The Water Bodies of Kolkata’.

He said, the other reasons for the loss was real estate business and mismanagement.

“In some areas the water bodies become a nuisance due to mismanagement and so people do not object when they are covered up. There are no proper institutions and mechanisms to look after the water bodies,” Ray said.

Released by the Jadavpur University Press, the empirical study in the book focuses on the small water bodies of Kolkata. Ray also highlighted heritage water bodies in the eastern metropolis.

“I have identified 51 heritage water bodies. The oldest is 800 years old lying in the south-east corner of the city. Others are around 400 to 500 years old. The Laldighi water body is the most important,” he said.

In addition, Ray also pointed out the relevance of these water bodies in keeping the temperatures down in the surrounding locality.

On water quality deterioration, he said it is due to the sewage coming in to the ponds which is not managed adequately.

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