To reduce damage to the shoreline from the rough, turbulent sea, and acute soil erosion, the most common measure employed across India’s long coastline since the late 19th century has involved the fortification of the seawall using massive granite boulders.
However, according to studies conducted by researchers, the method has done little in keeping the coastline erosion at bay. Additionally, the technique was severely critiqued for its unscientific mechanism in the MS Swaminathan Committee report of 2011, and the boulder walls were highlighted as a critical factor causing severe sea erosion.
This has been a critical issue in Kerala, where only 46.3 km of its 590 km long coastline has been demarcated as stable by the state fisheries department. Apart from the boulder walls, indiscriminate amount of sand quarrying from seashores have also been cited to play a massive role in erosion.
Based upon a report presented by the researchers of National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in Chennai, the state government plans on deploying geotextile tubes or geo-tubes filled with sea sand across eight coastal districts as part of its renewed coastline conservation measures.
Geo-tubes are essentially giant tubes with sediment-filled sleeves of geotextile fabric placed in a trench parallel to seashore that will check acute sea erosion, and also lessen the wrath of waves during high tides on the coasts.
“We will prepare the report based on the requirement of the state government. We are awaiting their response,” said Basantakumar Jena, a senior scientist at NIOT, whose team had made the presentation before J Mercykutty Amma, the Fisheries Minister, last week, reports The New Indian Express.
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According to a senior officer in the ministry, the minister has shown keen interest towards the project and would soon review the report for further development to take place.
It is believed that around 22,000 people across the coastal districts have been affected by prolonged sea erosion, and have been demanding for a permanent rehabilitation solution from the state.
If this plan is formalised under Kerala’s Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project, which envisions a comprehensive rehabilitation of the coastal population owing to sea erosion, not only will the ecological balance of the coast be reclaimed to a great extent, but countless fishing communities whose lives continue to hang at the mercy of sea, would be able to sleep with lesser worries at night.