A range of strange events in Wayanad create tension among people
KOZHIKODE: After the floods there have been occurence of range of strange events from mass death of earthworms to fast receding of waters in rivers and widespread land subsidence and well collapses which has created a tension among the people of Wayanad.
The hill district, known for its biodiversity, had been witnessing the sight of earthworms, numbering thousands, emerging out of the soil and dying en masse over the past few days. This phenomenon started last week, nearly a fortnight after the flood waters receded.
The incident has been reported by Vellamunda, Panamaram. Kolavayal and Moonam Mile, among other places. Wayanad has witnessed a steady increase in its temperature during the day over the past 10 days with no rain. “We couldn’t walk on the mud without stepping on dead earthworms on the mud road near our field,” said a farmer at Kolavayal.
Experts said that these deaths could have taken place due to rise in the soil temperature and sudden changes in soil conditions due to floods and the ongoing sunny spell. “Normally one tonne soil, comprising half cubic metre soil, has around 5kg of organic matter and it helps the soil retain around 50 litres of water. But floods have flushed out the organic content and humus from the soil in many areas thereby reducing its water holding capacity. This result in increase of soil temperature making earthworms emerge out and perish,” said district soil conservation officer PU Das.
Senior director at MS Swaminathan Research Foundation N Anil Kumar said micro climatic variation in the soil’s sub surface is believed to be the reason for this issue. “The impact will be soil fertility loss impacting agri production. Earthworms are very sensitive to changes and have a tolerance of between 15-28 degrees Celsius,” he said.
Water levels in Panamaram and Mananthavady rivers, which were in spate until the third week of August, are now receding fast. Das said fast drying up of rivers is a fallout of the vanishing of the large network of first and second order streams that sustain a river.