Pink Lakes in Kerala : Cabomba Furcata | UPSC
Kerala’s ‘pink phenomenon’ can choke water bodies and drains, warn scientists
WHY IN NEWS:
The widespread growth of an aquatic plant has painted the water bodies pink
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Invasive species
PINK LAKES IN KERALA : CABOMBA FURCATA
- Avalapandi — a sleepy, remote agrarian village in Kerala’s Kozhikode district — is winning hearts and curiosity of tourists for a peculiar reason.
- The widespread growth of an aquatic plant has painted the water bodies pink, and hundreds have descended to the village in the middle of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to witness it.
- Cabomba is a submerged perennial aquatic plant that grows in stagnant to slow-flowing freshwater.
- It dominantly belongs to Central and South America.
- “The plant will spread in the water bodies across the state, choking them as well as the drainage canals.
- The water quality would also be affected.
- The invasion of Cabombas has led to a decrease in the diversity of native aquatic plants and caused economic losses by affecting the yield of freshwater fishes.
Invasive species are the second-biggest cause for biodiversity loss, next to habitat destruction
- They are the second-biggest cause for biodiversity loss, next to habitat destruction.
- Invasive alien species could reproduce rapidly and out-compete the native species for food, water and space.
Among the measures to contain the spread of Cabomba include:
- Habitat modification to increase shading (planting trees)
- Tarpaulin shadeover Cabomba-infested area, especially where it cannot be mechanically removed.
- Regular weeding on both aquatic and terrestrial habitats based on inputs from monitoring.
Pink Flowers : Cabomba Furcata
- It is a common aquarium plant and its widespread trade in the industry has led to its proliferation to areas outside of its native range.
- It has beautiful flowers and dissected leaves, and is commonly used in aquaria.
- Cabomba prefers nutrient-rich habitats.
- They can spread fast via stem fragments and form dense stands in water bodies.
- Its main habitats include freshwater bodies such as rivers, reservoirs, ponds, irrigation canals and other shallow wetlands.
- The main pathways of dispersal are humans by intentional aquarium plantings and via inappropriate disposal.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
- The first known information on Cabomba in Kerala became available in 1952.
- A decade later, in 1977, Cabomba was first authentically reported from the environs of Cochin.
- In 2003, the Cabomba plant was found around the industrial area of Eloor and Thottumugham in Kerala’s Aluva area, stretching approximately for around 13 kilometres.
- Around the same time, the plant was reported from several localities Ernakulam, Kottayam, Alapuzha and Pathanamthitta districts.
OTHER INVASIVE SPECIES IN KERALA
- TERRESTRIAL INVASIVE ALIEN PLANTS : Plants such as Chromoleanaodorata, Lantana Camara, Mikaniamicrantha, Mimosa diplotricha, and Sphagenticolatrilobata etc have affected biodiversity.
- INVASIVE ALIEN FAUNA : The giant African snail Achatinafulica, papaya mealybug Paracoccusmarginatus, etc have affected the biodiversity of rural and urban spaces in Kerala.
- The key to controlling these species is to mechanically remove them from the water body and drying them in terrestrial spaces.
- Kerala has records of biological invasions dating back to the 19th century.
- It continues to experience several waves of alien invasions till today.
SOURCES: DownToEarth | Pink Lakes in Kerala : Cabomba Furcata | UPSC