Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sea Erosion: Point & Counter Point

A tax paying citizen, has mailed this letter...hope this starts a healthy debate on the topic...
Every Monsoon...there is a hue & cry raised over the issue of sea erosion...It is true that the houses, coconut trees and at times the roads are washed away by the sea. However, there seems to be an "industry" related to sea erosion...
Facts which need to be verified:
1. Whether the houses/ property damaged by the sea are legal? (CRZ or other land regulations)
2. Whether the compensation has been availed during earlier monsoon?
3. Whether some people "maintain" some sea side properties, just for compensation? Do they construct houses in the same place, after obtaining compensation?
4. Is there any vested interest involved in blowing this issue out of proportion- get emergency funds sanctioned- and have massive stone laying into the sea?
5. Is there an audit of activities to prevent sea erosion done in the past?
6. How many crores of rupees have been spent on these futile exercises? What is the number of people benefited by these activities?

Bio Barrier- a type of wild cactus prevents sea erosion at California, USA

What happened to the rocks/ stones/ granite dumped on the sea shore from the past 20 years?

Green Walling sea erosion:
Bengaluru, July 9: A holiday by the sea is always idyllic. But the holiday resorts and hotels that offer these relaxing getaways could be silent predators on the coastline, destroying it without seeming to, if they have not bothered to follow the rule of the law on the distance they should maintain from the sea. Heavy and unregulated land use is today leading to increased sea erosion with every passing year along the state’s 300 km long coastline, causing concern among marine scientists and ecologists.Sea erosion has been increasing every year in regions where the traditional ‘green walls’, barriers against the advancing sea, have almost disappeared due to encroachments and other activities in the name of development, observes biodiversity expert Harish R. Bhat.“Unfortunately the state has failed to effectively implement the Coastal Regulatory Zone Notification rules, 1991 and allowed structures to be built very close to the shore to promote tourism and development. This has increased the rate of erosion,” says V.N. Naik of the department of marine biology, Karnatak University, Karwar. Explaining the phenomenon of sea erosion, he says it takes place when a change in the wind fans the tides, causing high waves, which ultimately advance on to land, if there is no barrier to prevent them.Every year lakhs of rupees are spent on raising stone walls along the coast to stop sea erosion, but as most of them are unscientifically built, they hardly help in stopping the advancing waves. Marine scientists now feel that a green wall or green barrier, an age old deterrent to erosion, is the only solution to the problem which is increasingly causing them concern. Pointing out that the planting of the right mixture of creepers and trees along the coast has proved successful in keeping the sea at bay for hundreds of years, they think this time tested method could work again.“Dumping of granite stones is not an alternative as it increases erosion in some ways. The green wall concept is the best solution we have,” says Mr Bhat.Fortunately, the government appears to be listening. The Western Ghat Task Force will soon try out the green barriers to stop sea erosion in Udupi, Karwar and Dakshin Kannada, where it is becoming a reason for worry.“Stretches of the coastline in a couple of villages will be demarcated to construct the green walls. They will be built over the next few months with the active participation of villagers and marine scientists. A high-power committee headed by the environment secretary will be formed to monitor the green barriers,” explains the chairman of the task force, Ananth Hegde Ashisara.But while green walls could stem sea erosion in the areas they come up in, the government obviously needs to do more to ensure that the coastline is protected. It cannot afford to delay anymore on implementing its own coastal regulations to ensure that heavy land use does not alter the coast beyond recognition as it is beginning to do already.

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