200 km Odisha coast to face erosion by 2050

Despite being a pro-gradation coast, coastal Odisha is slowly transforming into a hotspot of erosion.
Representational Image. (File | EPS)
Representational Image. (File | EPS)

BHUBANESWAR: Amid rising extreme weather events, a global study has predicted that more than 200 km of Odisha’s shoreline will face erosion by 2050. The study conducted by researchers drawn from seven universities revealed sea force is getting stronger due to a significant decline in the flow of sediment and water volume in major rivers of the state. If the trend continued, the researchers claimed 45 per cent of the 480 km shoreline will face erosion while 55 pc may witness accretion in the next three decades.

The study titled “Quantitative assessment of the present and future potential threat of coastal erosion along the Odisha coast using geospatial tools and statistical techniques” identified the hotspots of erosion and sought corrective measures to deal with rapid coastal modifications.

Odisha’s coast runs across six coastal districts - Ganjam, Puri, Kendrapara, Balasore, Jagatsinghpur, and Bhadrak. The study area has seven main rivers including Mahanadi, Brahmani, Baitarani, Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, Rushikulya and Bahuda which deposit a hefty volume of sediment into the Bay of Bengal.

Despite being a pro-gradation coast, coastal Odisha is slowly transforming into a hotspot of erosion. While maximum erosion was detected between Pentha and Satabhaya coast in Kendrapara apart from Boxipalli and Podampeta in Ganjam during the 1990-2020 period, it will aggravate further bringing areas along Chandrabhaga beach and Subarnarekha estuary, the assessment said.

Since 1990, the study found, Boxipalli shoreline has receded approximately by 38 metre which is expected to increase to about 57 metre. Podampetta shoreline has moved 52.36 m since 1990 and is predicted to increase 44 m more by 2050.

Along Baliapanda beach in Puri, the shoreline has already receded by approximately 67 m which is expected to intensify further. A similar trend of erosion is noticed along Chandrabhaga beach where recession has been about 68 m. Pentha beach eroded 490 m while Satabhaya shoreline migrated 210 m in the last two decades, the paper said.

The region from Chandipur to Subarnarekha in Balasore district is also more vulnerable as both the locations have already shown erosional trend with approximately 40 m and 660 m respectively.Professor of Geography department at FM University Manoranjan Mishra said if the inward movement of shoreline continued, it may lead to the submergence of the coastal villages in the region forcing the population to relocate.

“The expected population growth in the coastal region and increase in coastal infrastructure like ports will exacerbate this trend, decreasing the resilience of the coastal landscape. A long term action plan instead of building hard structures along the coast, along with effective law enforcement and community participation, is the need of the hour to protect the sensitive coastal region of Odisha,” he added.  The seven universities included two each from Brazil and Odisha and one each from Malaysia and Bangladesh.

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