TRINet Blog

TRINet Newsletter September 2014 +  

​​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.

Disaster Preparedness -- Marine Weather Forecasts for Safety of Fishers +  

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.


TRINet Newsletter August 2014 +  

Adani Ports gets environmental clearance for Mundra SEZ

Plastics in Crab Gills +  

Microplastics are particles that are less than 5mm across, so tiny that wastewater treatment systems (where they exist) are unable to capture them. These are formed when plastic items fragment and disintegrate – that depends on various parameters and time.  But they also are manufactured – for use in consumer (personal care) products as ‘microbeads’ and slough off from washing of synthetic textiles. The next time you use a personal care product such as toothpaste, deodorant, cleansers with a powdery feel or exfoliating face washes, be aware that you may be using microplastics. While natural alternatives do exist – from oatmeal to mitti, plastics are cheaper but they have a major environmental cost.
Microplastics have been found to contaminate the sea surface of Australian waters at a concentration of more than 4000 pieces per square kilometre. In the Great Lakes (USA), of 470,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre, most of them (81%) were microbeads. They have very high adverse impact on the aquatic environment, so much so that Illinois has become the first American state to ban cosmetics containing microplastics.
Plastics have always been an issue of concern but UNEP’s Year Book 2014 devotes a whole chapter to Plastic Debris in the Ocean in their emerging issues update section.  

TRINet Newsletter July 2014 +  

Climate Change: After WB, ADB Approves Aid to Coastal States

Embankments and rising seas +  

 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.

TRINet Newsletter June 2014 +  

 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.

Behind the Scenes +  

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.

TRINet Newsletter May 2014 +  

 Heat wave claims 2 lives in Kolkata

Heatwaves +  

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.