THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Underwater studies conducted by a Thiruvananthapuram-based research group has found the recent coastal erosion event has had its toll on near-shore underwater marine ecosystems. Divers of Friends of Marine Life (FML) had conducted the study in the sea off Kovalam in view of the recent coastal erosion event that has left scores of fishermen families along the Thiruvananthapuram coast homeless. FML divers also took underwater photographs which reveal the scale of devastation wreaked by the coastal phenomenon.
‘’The unexpected phenomenon destroyed the natural beach in the region and the sand was deposited in the sea. When such natural calamities occur, assessments of the damage are limited to the loss sustained by humans. But no studies are conducted into the impact such phenomena have on marine ecosystems. That is why we undertook the study,’’ FML convener Robert Panipilla said.
FML is one of two Indian organisations working in the sector that was invited to attend the UN Ocean Conference in New York last year. The sand that was washed into the sea settled over mussel colonies on the reefs smothering and destroying them, FML divers found. ‘’Usually, on such reefs, a large number of sedentary life forms like mussels including sponges, corals, bivalves, bryozoans, hydrozoans, ascidians, algae, barnacles and tube worms are seen. But underwater photographs taken by FML divers reveal that they have disappeared from the region,’’ Panipilla said.
The Ockhi cyclone event in November last year also had had a large-scale impact on the coastal underwater environment. However, Panipilla says government agencies are scarcely interested in undertaking a serious study into the impact these natural calamities are having on marine ecosystems.
FML has urged government agencies to look into the impact that recent coastal erosion has had on the marine environment.