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Best Practices

Best Practices

Near to the college, at the heart of Changanassery city, there is a 9.5 acre Public Pond called Poovakkattu chira. The pond has been an important source of water to the locals. Earlier it was connected to rivers flowing through the outskirts of the city. As a result of unscientific construction works it got separated from the rivers. A few years ago the pond was in a miserable state of neglect. Residents around the pond used it as a waste dumping yard. The pond was filled with household waste, slaughter house waste and waste from nearby automobile workshops. As the organic waste content increased aquatic weeds and grasses started to flourish and cover the pond and literally the pond changed to a grass covered ground. With the support of the Municipal Authorities department of Botany intervened and initiated a project called NAVODAKAM, meaning The New Water on 5 June 2017.

Through the Navodakam project the department envisaged the following,

  • Cleaning the pond and surroundings at least once in a week through the joint efforts of students, teachers and the public
  • Making the public aware of the significance of wetlands and water bodies
  • Involving the public in the conservation of wetlands and water bodies
  • Periodically testing the quality of water in the pond and seeking expert opinion in improving the quality of water
  • Presenting the ‘Government–Higher Education Institution-Public’ collaborative model of environmental conservation to other institutions and the state at large.
  • Cleaning the other water bodies in the city through the model

Through the sincere and consistent work of the Navodakam team comprising of teachers and students the pond gradually became a tidy and clean water body. The best part is that water birds such as Indian cormorant, whistling geese, darters and kingfishers came back to the pond in folks. Regular visit of water birds is an indication of the health of the water body.

Student volunteers were given initial training on the importance of water bodies and wetlands. Trained student volunteers continuously educate the public about the importance of a water body like Poovakkattu chira and its significant influence on the ground water table.

We could initiate a residents association in the area around the pond. As per the byelaw of the association one of the faculty members of the Botany department will be a special invitee in all their Executive Meetings. We are using the general body meetings of the residents association as a platform for creating awareness in the residents near to the pond.

Through the well planned and concerted efforts team Navodakam could bring the pond back into a blissful life. The project continues as a model for other institutions to follow.

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