About 187 km of Orissas coast face erosion threat

Bhubaneswar: About 187 km of Orissa`s 480 km long coastline was exposed to erosion and a major portion of its had been identified as accreting or stable, according to a study.

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 under World Bank funded Integrated Costal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) which said that 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 summarizes the methods of analysis and provides explanations regarding long-term trends and zones of change," Ajit K Patnaik, project director ICZMP, said.

Based on the above 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 bof Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore show accretion (above 50 %) of the coast," Patnaik pointed out quoting the assessment report.

The coast was protected by riprap and other structures in the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur and Balesore, he pointed out

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.

Meanwhile, environmentalist Biswajit Mohanty demanded a halt to the 12 upcoming ports along the coast in view of the ICZM report which had detected rapid shore erosion in the state.

"The Orissa government is currently implementing a Rs 227 crore ICZM project sponsored by the World Bank to address issues of beach erosion, livelihood of fishermen, protection of mangroves. However, these loan funds will be a complete waste unless the state halts the development of 12 new private ports on the Orissa coast as such new ports shall lead to rapid beach erosion," Mohanty said in a statement.