The Union environment ministry has approved Tamil Nadu’s proposal to get financial support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to restore Pallikaranai marshland in Chennai. The Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Forests, confirmed that the State government received a no-objection letter from the Union government. A per which, the state government is expected to receive little over Rs 200 crore, which will be used for scientific eco-restoration of Pallikaranai marshland, which is key for the city’s overall well-being — be it groundwater recharge or flood mitigation.
According to the research done by the Care Earth Trust in 1991, the Pallikaranai marsh covered 2,450 ha in 1991, but by 2015, it lost out to various developments, including a railway line, and covered just 600 ha. Despite its reduced area, the marsh acts as a sponge that stores the heavy monsoon rains and releases water in the dry months. Last year, the Madras High Court ordered the environment and forest department to prevent non-forest activities in the marshland. It also passed an order to relocate the dump yards in the marsh, and told the government to reclaim unutilized land allotted to government industries and institutions.