Coastal erosion Current Affairs
The Union Government has inked $65.5 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) to continue interventions to check coastal erosion on the Western Coast in Karnataka.
The loan is second tranche of $250 million financing facility under Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Program for 20-year term. It will be used for to address immediate coastal protection needs and for strengthening institutional capacity of Karnataka’s Inland Water Transport Department and Public Works, Ports.
Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Program
It consist of eight coastal protection subprojects to address issues of medium to severe coastal erosion resulting in protection of about 54 km of coastline in Karnataka. It has already demonstrated benefit of adoption of softer options such as artificial reefs, beach nourishments, and dune management for coastal protection. State Department of Public Works is responsible for implementation of overall program which is due for completion by September 2020.
Karnataka’s coast supports state’s major economic sectors, which include agriculture, fisheries, tourism, ports and other major transport and communication sectors. Coastal erosion in state poses high risk to human wellbeing, economic developmen, and ecological integrity through loss of land, infrastructure, and business opportunities.
Under increasing threat from climate change impacts, coastal protection and management has evolved as major challenge to development. This project is mainly focused for effective and sustainable management of shoreline which is vital for sustainable economic and social development of coastal regions in state.
According to a study, Parali I island, one of biodiversity-rich uninhabited islands part of Lakshadweep has disappeared due to coastal erosion and another four such islands in Lakshadweep sea are shrinking fast.
The researcher had conducted studies on assessment of biodiversity confining to five uninhabited islands– Parali I, II and III, Bangaram, Thinnakara in Lakshadweep, an archipelago of 36 islands in Lakshadweep sea.
The assessment related to geo-morphological changes associated with each island for period of 45 years was carried out using geospatial techniques such as Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) to confirm the claim.
Parali I island, part of Bangaram atoll which was 0.032 square km in 1968 has been eroded to an extent of 100%, resulting in its inundation. Apart from Parali I, net erosion was higher in Parali II (80%), followed by Thinnakara (14.38%), Parali III (11.42%) and Bangaram (9.968%). The five islets of Bangaram atoll also have undergone coastal erosion.
The study has recommended of a bio protection strategy using mangroves, in addition to the conventional physical protection measures from coastal erosion.
The complete erosion and inundation of Parali I is pointing to gravity of issues associated with coastal erosion within atoll. It calls for urgent measures to be implemented on each islet of the atoll in Lakshadweep sea to check further erosion. Further, due to increasing global temperature because of climate change, islands and coastal areas are facing erosion and inundation due to rising sea levels. India’s coasts and islands, are densely populated, are highly vulnerable. There is urgent need to start preparing for building defenses to protect coastlines and islands as sea levels are predicted to rise further.