Chennai, January 28: Over 40% of the coast is eroding in India, much higher than previous estimates according to experts at a Consultative Meeting on Coastal and Marine Zone Management held at MSSRF in Chennai today. Speaking on the occasion, Dr R Ramesh, Director, National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change, referred to studies conducted by their Centre. “This level is a cause for concern, not only because it is higher than previously estimates but also because it calls for the need to address basic issues.”
Reiterating this, Dr M.A. Atmanand, Director, National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai called for sustainable solutions along the coastline. “There is need to maintain a balance between sustainable development and environmental protection.”
With over 250 million people living along coastal areas and over 10 million fisherfolk deriving their livelihood from the coast, management of this zone is complex in reality.
Emphasizing the importance of coastal zone management, Prof M S Swaminathan in his special remarks said “There is need to have management of coastal zone in an organized manner, both in the administrative sense, bringing various departments together and in also looking at this process in a much more scientific manner.”
Raising the question uppermost on people’s minds was Dr. Sukumar Devotta, Former Director NEERI and Vice President SPRIME “How do we ensure sustainable development along with coastal management?” The answer was perhaps in the welcome address of Dr Ajay Parida, Executive Director, MSSRF where he spoke about the need “to move from ‘Don’t’ Ecology to ‘Do’ Ecology” as it affected the livelihood of so many people.
Stakeholders from various Government departments, researchers and development organizations participated in this multi-stakeholder discussion towards evolving recommendations and solutions for coastal management. The two-day event is being held on 28 & 29 January the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai. Partners of the programme are Society for Protection of River and Marine Environment (SPRIME) India, National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change(MOEFCC), Government of India, Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).
Background: The constant threat to the ecosystem in recent times, making it vulnerable to various natural hazards and anthropogenic activities and economic developments along with societal pressure are impacting the coastal environment and livelihoods. Despite having a strong environmental policy, legislative framework and well established institutions at National and State levels status of coastal zone management through effective developmental planning is required. Different stakeholders have varying and conflicting concerns about the coastal zone regulations, its effectiveness in accomplishing sustainable development, and regulatory framework responsible implementation. Therefore the programme aims at bringing together all stakeholders on one platform to outlining the current status and document their suggestions and recommendations for future developmental planning for coastal areas.
The meeting is expected to evolve recommendations and enable the central and state level authorities to review the existing regulatory measures and enable sustainable development
Honourable Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India will be the chief Guest of Valedictory Session. Senior level officials from the Central and State government departments, academic and research institutes, industries, NGOs, and other relevant stakeholders are participating in the meeting.