Cognizant says it will spend ₹2.7 crore to restore one of India's last natural marshlands in Chennai

Cognizant says it will spend ₹2.7 crore to restore one of India's last natural marshlands in Chennai
  • Global IT services giant Cognizant is joining hands with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M), The Nature Conservancy, Grundfos, and Care Earth Trust to restore the Sembakkam Lake in Chennai.
  • Cognizant will be shelling out over ₹2.7 crore alongside Grundfos’ ₹1.7 crore.
  • The 100-acre Sembakkam Lake flows into the Pallikaranai wetland, one the last remaining natural marshlands in the world.
Cognizant is shelling out over ₹2.7 crore ($360,000) to try and save one of the last remaining natural marshlands in the world — the Pallikaranai wetland — by restoring the Sembakkam Lake in Chennai.

Nearly 7 million litres of fresh water used to flow into the lake every day, but now the 100-acre water body is choking on the trash and aquatic weeds. “The Sembakkam Lake is one of Chennai’s 54 inter-connected lakes of the Pallikaranai watershed basin that are critical to the city’s water security and resilience to floods and droughts,” explained Cognizant’s head of Chennai operations, Muthu Kumaran.

Cognizant says it will spend ₹2.7 crore to restore one of India's last natural marshlands in Chennai
The advantages of a wetlandThe Nature Conservancy

The Indian Institute of Technology - Madras (IIT-M), Chennai-based Care Earth Trust, and the world’s largest conservation organisation — The Nature Conservancy (TNC) — have already been doing their part since 2018.

With Cognizant’s ₹2.7 crore and Grundfos’ ₹1.7 crore ($230,00) — as well as ₹7.5 lakh ($10,00) in kind in the form of services — the hope is to finish the restoration project by the end of 2021.

Simply cleaning up the lake isn’t enough
Simply cleaning up Sembakkam Lake won’t solve the problems that have been building for nearly half a century. The entire water and waste management system needs to be overhauled to make the lake sustainable.

Led by IIT-M, TNC, and Care Earth Trust started by setting up a floating barge to remove the water hyacinths.

The project also involves cleaning up the inlets and outlets, improving the lake’s connectivity with upstream and downstream water bodies, building an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system, and constructing walkways and green buffer zones along the lake.

By removing the solid waste, silt, and invasive plant species, the project hopes to improve Sembakkam Lake’s storage capacity by 50%, improve the water quality, and enhance groundwater recharge.

Earlier this month, the Care Earth Trust told media that a survey had identified 189 plant species that will be helpful in lake habitat restoration and water quality improvement. An eco-friendly recreational space will be created by thematically planting native plants and herbs around and in Sembakkam lake.

After the COVID-19 situation improves, Cognizant plans to run a range of community engagement and awareness initiatives through its employee-led volunteering program, Cognizant Outreach.

“The support of Cognizant and Grundfos is vital to taking up the critical eco-restoration work at Sembakkam Lake. We are deploying science-based and nature-led solutions using constructed wetland systems that use minimal energy, require zero chemical additives, and are inexpensive for wastewater treatment at the lake,” said the managing director of TNC’s India Program, Seema Paul.

Earth has lost a 'staggering' 28 trillion tonnes of ice to global warming in the last 23 years, UK scientists find

From Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to Manmohan Singh, these are the stated views of Congress Working Committee members on Sonia Gandhi's resignation

Sharechat acquires hyperlocal information platform which was started by its former employee