Experts suggest preparing a coastal erosion map

On June 8, World Ocean Day, a team of independent experts came up with long term and short term solutions to resolve coastal erosion in Kerala.

Published: 09th June 2021 06:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th June 2021 06:02 AM   |  A+A-

Houses battered by sea erosion near Valiyathura | file pic

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: On June 8, World Ocean Day, a team of independent experts came up with long term and short term solutions to resolve coastal erosion in Kerala. The report cites that the primary factor triggering sea erosion in Kerala is the unscientific constructions. Experts have recommended allowing buildings 50 metres off the shoreline and have urged the government to list hotspots based on available studies.

The report recommends preparing coastal erosion maps with the participation of local communities and scientists. They also mooted the installation of a coastal zone monitoring network to check any violation of the coastal zone management act.

R Sridhar, one of the conveners of Kerala Paristhiti Aikya Vedi, the umbrella organisation of environmental organisations in the state, said the scientific report will help the state make effective interventions. “The document will help initiate a dialogue and this will help in better decision making. We will be organising a dissemination workshop for the fishing community and other stakeholders soon,” said Sridhar. 

The document was prepared by Biju Kumar, professor and head of the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries (Kerala University); K V Thomas, former chief scientist and head of National Center for Earth Sciences; Ajayakumar Varma, former chief scientist and head of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, National Center for Earth Sciences; Shaji E, associate professor and Head of Department of Geology (Kerala University), and T V Sajeev, senior principal scientist of Kerala Forest Research Institute.

Immediate recommendations
Establishments only 50 metres off the shoreline
Preparing a list of hotspots 
Use of reefs in shallow waters, concrete wall, tetrapods, geotextile tubes, breakwater should be undertaken after Morphological Impact Assessment.
Better structural features for seashore maintenance after conducting site-specific studies. 
Only the traditional fishing community should be permitted to erect new houses in locations prone to sea erosion.
Natural solutions like dunes, mangroves, native vegetation to curb sea erosion.
Long term recommendations:
Preparing coastal erosion maps  with the participation of local and scientific communities
Participatory seashore management plan
Prioritised socially relevant research projects on coastal zone management and mapping 
Coastal zone management plan should be implemented using marine spatial planning at the village level 
Committee headed by the chief minister to ensure coordination to implement coastal zone conservation and management 
Preparation of local-specific coastal zone management plans with the help of local self-government
Constitution of coastal zone monitoring network to keep a tab on violations of Coastal Zone Management Act
Mining of strategically important mineral sand should be regulated strictly
Grassroot level study to evaluate and predict the impact of climate change


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