February 16, 2022 - 9:29 am

One-Third of India's Coast Is Eroding At Varying Rate Of Changes

More than one-third of India's coast is eroding at varying rate of changes according to a study of satellite data over 28 years (1990-2018), the government told Lok Sabha. Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has carried out coastal vulnerability assessment for entire Indian coast at states level to bring out an Atlas comprising 156 maps on 1:1,00,000 scales to prepare a Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI). Coastal vulnerability is a spatial concept that identifies people and places that are susceptible to disturbances resulting from coastal hazards. Hazards in the coastal environment, such as coastal storms, sea level rise and erosion, pose significant threats to coastal physical, economic, and social systems.

A coastal Multi-Hazard Vulnerability Mapping (MHVM) was also carried out using parameters like sea level change rate, shoreline change rate, high-resolution coastal elevation, extreme water level from tide gauges and their return periods. These parameters were synthesized to derive the composite hazard zones that can be inundated along the coastal low-lying areas due to extreme flooding events. These maps depict the coastal low-lying areas exposed to the coastal inundation.

INCOIS is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). It is located in Hyderabad & was established in 1999. It is a unit of the Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO), New Delhi. The ESSO operates as an executive arm of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) for its policies and programmes. It is mandated to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community through sustained ocean observations and constant improvement through systematic and focused research. INCOIS, has been issuing alerts on Potential Fishing Zone, Ocean State Forecast, Tsunami Early Warning, Storm Surge Early Warning, High Wave Alerts, etc., through dedicated ocean modeling, observations, computation facilities and the marine data center.

Climate change is a massive threat to humanity, and therefore, many countries are trying to combat its detrimental effects. South Asia, notably India, will be one of the critical places influenced by climate change in its extremes in the coming years, owing to its diversified geography. Hence, climate change will have several detrimental impacts on the population of India and its economy. The government is currently taking steps to address this issue, but more has to be done. Erosion of the coastal regions is not an unexpected occurrence or one that has arisen only now. Unless immediate measures are taken on a slew of connected issues, this will not end. The good news of accretion can only last for a short while, so it is imperative that the erosion is stopped. Measures are required on an urgent basis to save the coastal areas. Any delay will only be at the cost of the coast. It is too big a risk to take.