The coastlines of the world have undergone extensive alteration, generally due to the impact of human activities and most often because of human settlements. Coasts have drawn people from inland for a variety of reasons, from trade-related opportunities to equitable weather (compared to the hinterland). Human settlements have been expanding as human population has increased but till not too long ago, the focus was on using locally available material for construction of houses. Vernacular architecture at different levels generally tended to merge with the landscape as well. This has changed considerably with the focus on stronger ‘multi-hazard-resilient’ buildings that resist the forces of water and wind and the belief that reinforced cement concrete (RCC) offers the best solution in this regard. When the tsunami destroyed thousands of houses along the coast in 2004, a decision was taken that when houses were re-constructed, they would be made resilient to multiple hazards, for after all, the tsunami is just one of the many hazards that coastal communities face – the more common being cyclones and the associated wind, flooding and storm surges.
How good has the idea of RCC houses been? The best way to find out is to study the condition of the houses after a few years of exposure to elements as well as being lived-in. Such a study was conducted a few months ago in Nagapattinam district where approximately 20,000 houses were built in 88 locations. The study evaluated the current status of the constructed houses and the impact of relocation and reconstruction on community livelihoods. A quota sampling method was used to select 240 households in fourteen reconstruction sites to ensure that sampling was inclusive – that different communities as well as locations were sampled.
Kerala to map marine biodiversity
The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) has initiated a programme to prepare a Marine Biodiversity Register (MBR) documenting the underwater ecology of the inshore areas and the traditional knowledge systems of fishermen in the State.
Underwater archaeologist finds his Titanic moment on the Tamil Nadu Coast
When he started as a young marine archaeologist, no one was willing to give N Athiyaman even diving gear. But he did not lose hope. With the help of some local divers, he managed to salvage a 600-year-old stone anchor off Kurusadai Island near Rameswaram.
Reef life going great in west coast
Scientists for the first time have observed and scientifically documented a rare and visually magnificent phenomenon known as coral spawning in Lakshadweep signalling good health of corals on the west coast.
THE UNTOLD STORY OF A COAST
Chennai’s second desalination plant to produce drinking water from sea water was formally inaugurated by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, according to an official press release.The plant at Nemmeli, about 50 km south of Chennai on the East Coast Road, will produce about 100 million litres of freshwater daily.
PORTS AND BLUE GROWTH?
As we move towards summer, the days are becoming brighter and hotter. Demand for power to run fans and air conditioners steadily goes up. Since power-generation is not able to keep up with the demand, load shedding (power cut, maintenance shut-down… whatever term you want to use) increases. One cannot sit in the room without at least the fan on! After years of saying it is too expensive, impractical etc., now it is dawning on us that we do have an alternative in solar power. We are also realizing that grid supply is not the only way to power a house or office – after all, a DG or diesel gen-set has now become a common piece of equipment without which life, at least in Tamil Nadu, can get quite paralysed when the ‘load shedding schedule” is on. Similarly, we do not need solar farms to feed into the grid. Personalized power is possible, feasible.