Renowned Kerala-based environmentalist and green activist Prof S Sitaraman passed away on Wednesday. The 74-year-old activist had reportedly collapsed at his residence in Kochi's Aluva and died at around 12 noon. He is survived by his wife Parvathy and two sons, Harikrishnan and Jayakrishnan.
Prof Sitaraman is remembered as the man who led several green movements in Ernakulam against human interference and commercial exploitation of natural resources in the district. Within and outside Kerala, he had participated in several green movements, and fought for the protection of rivers. He is credited with creating whole jungles in a bid to fight climate change. He was also the founder of the All-Kerala River Protection Council and was appointed the chief investigator of the Periyar Action Plan introduced in 1977. The plan called for stringent action against any kind of encroachment, pollution and sand extraction from the river.
Always remembered by his students and admirers for his relentless efforts to expand the green cover of the state, Sitaraman who retired as a Professor in the Chemistry Department at Kalady's Sree Sankara College, is famous for taking daily trips on his two-wheeler with cans of water to tend to the numerous saplings he had planted in and around Aluva.
Today, a mini forest or Harithavanam next to the Aluva Siva temple on the banks of the Periyar is credited to Prof Sitaraman's efforts, which included planting hundreds of trees in the region. He was also the petitioner in a Supreme Court judgement which asked for the demolition of the 'Rainbow Restaurant' by the Kerala Tourism Department built on the banks of the Periyar River, which was in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms. The 74-year-old also took an active interest in forming the National Green Corps, encouraging young school kids to become Green Warriors.