187 km of Orissa coast face erosion threat: Study

Bhubaneswar:  Nearly 187 km of Orissa`s 480-km-long coastline has been exposed to erosion and a major portion of it identified as accreting or stable, a study says.

While 39.3 km (about 8.2 per cent) was identified as high erosion zone, 51.96 km (10.82 per cent) fell under medium erosion zone.

The assessment was made in the World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) which said a major stretch of the state`s coastline (61 per cent) was either accreting (46.8 per cent) or stable (14.4 per cent).

"This assessment on the Orissa Coast represents long-term shoreline change for a period of 38 years from 1972-2010. The report summarises the methods of analysis and provides explanations regarding long-term trends and zones of change," said Ajit K Patnaik, project director ICZMP.

Based on the information and data, ICZMP advised the state government and the Centre to take proper precautions prior to erecting any further structures along the eroding and vulnerable coastal stretches of Orissa.

Of the six coastal districts in the state, the report said that erosion was dominant in the districts of Puri and Jagstinghpur while accretion was much in Ganjam, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore district.

"Due to presence of dense mangrove vegetation, the coastal districts of Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore show accretion (above 50 per cent) of the coast," Patnaik pointed out quoting the assessment report.

The coast was protected by rip rap and other structures in the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur and Balesore, he said. While accretion was dominant in the central and northen parts, erosion dominated the southern parts of the coast, the study said.

Erosion was obvious to the north of ports such as Gopalpur, Paradip and Anantpur Ports and to the south of Dhamra and Astranga Ports, it said.