Meet Sreekumar, the doctor who prescribes medicine for ecological conservation

Dr. B Sreekumar
Dr. B Sreekumar. Photo: Manorama

Kottayam: Dr. B Sreekumar is an expert not just in prescribing medicines for his patients but concocting organic panacea for the ecological conservation of the river banks. He lists out a few ‘ingredients’ that would make the ecology around the rivers thrive. Sreekumar says that the green canopy on the river banks should be preserved in its natural habitat. He is against cutting down homonoia retusa or attuvanchi that could avert severe flooding situations. Besides, he is a strong advocate for conserving the natural habitat of the dipper birds.

Sreekumar, who is the president of Kottayam Nature Society, has been dedicating his life for nature's cause since decades. An avid bird watcher, he had often associated in recording the bird population. Besides, Dr. Sreekumar has designed a unique method of river conservation that has proven to be highly effective.

He suggested to take the numbers of fish in the river by dividing the Meenachil River into three sections. He sought the support and help of the residents of the locality in this task. They caught the fish from the river, in the traditional method, using net. After counting them, these fish were immediately released back into the water. This method soon grabbed attention and popularity. The doctor points out that blockages that prevent the natural flow of river water is the reason for flooding situation and mud slides on the banks of the Meenachil River. The mud on the banks slide, leading to flooding, at the sharp curves. Plants like homonoia retusa should be planted on the banks to prevent this. When the river loses its depth and width, the water gushes with greater force, leading to mud slides. The sturdy roots of the homonoia retusa would hold the mud tightly and saves the banks. These humble plants, therefor, act as preserving walls for the flowing river.

Dr. Sreekumar says that the common people should come together to preserve the green canopy of bamboo and other trees that stand on the banks of the tributaries of the Meenachil River.

Kottayam Nature Society often becomes part of the bird watching and data collecting process organised by the World Wild Fund India and the social reforestation department of the Forest Department in Kerala. Dr, Sreekumar says that unscientific waste disposal, shortage of paddy cultivation and over dependence on chemical fertilizers have severely affected the natural habitat of the local and migratory birds in many places, including in Kuttanad, leading to devastating ecological impacts. 

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