Friday, September 28, 2018

Why Cochin Airport Does Not Deserve UN's 'Champions of the Earth' Award

Cochin International Airport (CIAL), near Kochi, Kerala was one among the six to pick up the prestigious “Champions of the Earth” award with the likes of PM Narendra Modi and French president Emmanuel Marcon on September 26.
The “Champions of the Earth” is the highest environmental honour awarded by the United Nations.  Kerala’s Cochin airport was named change maker in the entrepreneurial vision category for being the world’s first fully solar-powered airport.
True, CIAL got the award for Entrepreneurial Vision for being the world’s first fully solar-powered airport but what at what cost? The solar panels touted as green only conceals the messed up environment that the airport is sitting on.
The cost of damage to the environment is several times high than the benefits of the fully solar-powered airport.
Kerala state AAP convenor C R Neelakandan draws an analogy to the portrayal of Cochin airport as green. “It’s like saying a rapist is good because he does not smoke or drink. Not drinking or smoking does not justify the actions of a rapist. So is the case with Cochin airport."
“Since the time of its construction, around 1000s of acres of paddy fields have been destroyed and the Chengal Creek (a tributary of the river Periyar) has been diverted to build runways,” he says.
Neelakandan says the diversion of the creek caused flooding in the neighbouring areas for three days in 2013 when the shutters of Edamalyar dam were opened. In 2018, the flooding occurred when shutters of all the dams on river Periyar were opened.
28/09/18 Minu Ittyipe/Outlook