40% of Indian coast subjected to coastal erosion: Government
The government on Wednesday said a study has revealed that on an average around 40% of Indian coast is subjected to coastal erosion.
Chennai: Rampant developments along the coast drying up groundwater
The city is waking up to the threat faced by the Muttukadu estuary due to unbridled urbanisation that has resulted in high-rises and industries on its banks. Experts and environment activists are alleging that these new structures are putting the ground water table at coastal Chennai to grave risk.
Despite having a 7,500-kilometre coastline and a marine fisherfolk population of 3.57 million spread across more than 3,000 marine fishing villages, India has no detailed marine weather bulletins for fishermen either on radio, TV or print media. All weather forecasts are aimed at farmers and the general public, and only forecast rain. Fishers work in an environment that has the potential to turn hostile any time. Their lives and livelihoods depend on the sea state and the weather over the sea.
The first regular broadcast of marine weather by a radio station in India happened at Kollam, Kerala, in July 2012. A community radio station located close to the sea, Radio Benziger, began a daily broadcast of marine weather forecast, sourced from INCOIS, that can be picked up from 25 km at sea. The station broadcasts three weather bulletins daily to over 4 lakh listeners spread along this coastal port city.
Further south of Kollam, along the south west coast of India, an Indian climate researcher at the University of Sussex, Maxmillan Martin, began an initiative, Radio Monsoon, by narrowcasting to a community of small boat fishers at Vizhinjam, a fishing village located close to the famous Kovalam beach. Radio Monsoon, a predecessor to a radio station, narrowcasts ocean state forecasts, issued by INCOIS, in Malayalam to fisher communities by loudspeakers, word of mouth and also by uploading IMD and INCOIS forecasts on an Internet server, Gram Vaani, and giving fishers a free phone number to access the Malayalam bulletins anytime. The forecasts can also be accessed via Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.
Climate Change: After WB, ADB Approves Aid to Coastal States
In June 2014, Cyclone Nanauk in the western Arabian Sea resulted in huge tidal waves reaching upto 4.5 meters hit Mumbai's shore. There were photos of people getting a thrill from running away from the seawall as waves broke over the Gateway of India. Waterlogging was severe in many places, mainly because the incoming water did not have a way to flow out. Similar impact was reported from Kochi and Trivandrum on other occasions. With more and more of the coast being built up, creeks are narrowed and ‘trained’ so that their mouths do not migrate while the mangroves that mitigate the impact of floods are destroyed and in their place other structures are erected.
How will climate change affect livelihoods in South Asia?
How does a warming environment affect rainfall, cropping patterns, livelihoods? What could be the alternatives that people whose livelihoods are hit by the effects of climate change do to cope? An initiative by Britain and Canada seeks to study and tackle the effects of climate change in South Asia, in tandem with TERI and Jadavpur University in India and similar institutes in neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh.
A new government has taken charge. It was interesting to read that climate change has been added to the portfolio of the Minister in charge of the Department of Environment and Forests. Quite essential as climate change is not only very much in the news today but also very important from the Indian perspective in terms of food security. Probably among the most important here is the impact of climate change on the water sector. It is forecast that there is likely to be short periods of intense rainfall. This means that we need to have better water harvesting and storage facilities to ensure that the rain that falls does not go down the drain but is allowed to steadily percolate into the ground. Focus on catchment areas thus becomes essential. Afforestation in these areas will help not only to prevent soil being washed away but also control landslides. When we talk of food security, we naturally think in terms of better irrigation and automatically, of large dams. Those of us who have grown up in cities and towns are not directly aware of the complexities of building a dam except that villages may go under water so that the region benefits. We wonder why there are protests about acquiring land for large industrial complexes, SEZs and so on. Few of us are prepared to read through thick reports full of statistics. After all there are policies on resettlement and providing employment to those who have been displaced. It is only when one reads a work, supposedly of fiction that one can get a feel of what happens to those displaced by a dam or due to land acquisition for a port or a power plant. There is Kamala Markandaya’s “The Coffer Dams”, for example, that I read as a student many years ago. “A Dirge for the Dammed” by Vishwas Patil and translated from the original Marathi by Keerti Ramachandra is a relatively recent work that portrays the construction in recent times of a larger irrigation project.
Heat wave claims 2 lives in Kolkata
The days are getting warmer. In fact, reports in the media indicate that record temperatures have already been equalled in many cities across India in April. Kolkata, Gujarat, parts of north India, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh – all are reportedly already reeling under heatwave settings - temperatures above 40°C and generally, dry and dusty conditions.