Come next year a vessel with in-built laboratory would be found floating along the coast for monitoring the State’s coastal ecology.

In its maiden foray into tracking health of coastal ecology, Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) would be handling on-board laboratory of the vessel to be procured through World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme (ICZMP).

ICZMP, State project management unit, has come out with invitation for bid for procurement of sea-worthy vessel with inbuilt laboratory space for coastal monitoring and related services. The worth of the vessel has been estimated at Rs. 2.5 crore.

The vessel would move along 80 km stretch seawater from Paradip to Dhamra for surveillance and monitoring of ecological changes.

“The inbuilt laboratory would help us carry out in-situ and onboard experiments. At present, we hire trawlers for monitoring or collecting samples on sea. Upon acquisition of vessel, we will be in a position to do long-term monitoring,” said Anupam Behera, a scientist of OSPCB and nodal officer for this project, here on Monday.

Mr. Behera said capacity building of OSPCB officials and newly recruited manpower had been started.

“Pollution control board has prepared a monitoring protocol comprising tracking of chemical and physical change of seawater along the coast, measuring biological parameters and air-monitoring,” he said.

The OSPCB scientist said as per the present strategy, quarterly monitoring reports would be generated using the vessel’s facility.

The vessel would be harboured in Paradip Port. Deployment of a vessel with inbuilt laboratory between Paradip and Dhamra assumes significance as Odisha’s coastal ecology is likely to undergo drastic change in near future.

The Union government has already sanctioned Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) near port town of Paradip which could attract Rs. 2,74,000 crore over 70214 acres of land. Besides petrochemical industries, the region is likely to be location for a couple of mega steel industries. Similarly, Dhamra has already a big private port. Industries related steel, power and ship making have also been proposed in the region.

Mr. Behera said Paradip would remain an important place in the State as three major rivers Mahanadi, Brahmani and Baitarani join the sea near Paradip. The ecology around the place where river meets sea gives very valuable indicators of coastal health, he pointed out. The vessel would have a dedicated crew.