Artauni – expressing E.F.I’s love for lakes

As the Yamuna meanders in the northern edge of the village, vast stretches of invasive thorny shrubs form a thick line of defense keeping the residents of Artauni away from the river. The southern edge of Artauni has a busy motorway transporting people, goods and dreams from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

A suburb to Agra, Artauni is home to monkeys, monitor lizards, cobras and plenty of birds that find some serene pocket in this busy neighborhood. Where wildlife finds a space amidst human habitation, E.F.I cannot be far. We are excited to announce the commencement of our restoration efforts at the Artauni lake in Agra.

The excitement kicks in as we step out of the Agra Cantt station, scores of visitors leaving the premises were thrilled for their visit to the majestic Taj. As the entire lot drove in one direction, we drove in the opposite direction towards a contaminated lake in this city of Love.

The Artauni lake’s pollution story, EFI’s solution story are not drastically different from our other water bodies. However, this is a story that can be told multiple times, until every lake in India is freed from clutches of modern abuse.

Community lakes/ponds meant there was a standard supply of freshwater for dependent population. Owing to its significance, there was a discipline in its usage, sharing and caretake. Over time, with migrating population, changing practices, availability of water at the end of an open tap, many community lakes/ponds which once were the source of a valuable resource, lost its sheen and thereby plunged into neglect.

The above image of the Artauni lake from 90m above the core water holding area clearly shows the algal bloom in the eastern corner owing to nutrient accumulation. The non-degradable trash that is spread across different zones of the water body, the crumbling embankments, the irregular storage area and the multi inlet-no outlet system turned this freshwater body into a stagnant cesspool.

E.F.I’s efforts which commenced in early 2023 aims at:

  1. Complete removal of non-degradable trash
  2. Deweeding to remove invasive vegetation
  3. To deepen the water body in 4 corner zones
  4. To strengthen the embankments all around
  5. To regulate the central landing and the nesting island
  6. To develop a first of its kind, cross running diagonal canal system which would intersect at a recharge well cum sedimentation tank
  7. To fence the outer periphery
  8. To have series of vegetation based intervention to improve the general aesthetics of the water body

Reviving water bodies such as this one at Artauni in Agra is to send a strong message of hope to the younger generation, that all is not lost and over. As we enjoy the advantages of technology, telecommunication, modern science, it is also our responsibility to use these tools of modern sophistication to safeguard our future.

Keep checking this space for regular updates on how Artauni bounces back to its past glory to be the torchbearer for our greener tomorrow. Volunteer for India & her Environment with E.F.I.

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