Special Correspondent

The plan has twin benefits, says expert

Plan will ensure protection of coastal areas, disposal of waste 20 million cubic metres of granite waste in quarry belts Total requirement for groynes 10 million cubic metres Make environmental audit mandatory, says top geologist

CHENNAI: The Geological Survey of India has identified granite waste as the construction material for groynes along vulnerable stretches of the Tamil Nadu coast.

GSI Deputy Director-General S.K. Bhushan told a conference on environmental geosciences organised by Anna University's Geology Department and the Centre with Potential of Excellence in Environmental Science, with the support of the University Grants Commission, that 20 million cubic metres of granite waste had piled up in quarry belts of the State. The total requirement for the groynes was only 10 million cubic metres. By implementing the suggestion, the coastal areas could be protected and the waste disposed.

Dr. Bhushan said the GSI had suggested remedial measures to safeguard vulnerable areas of the coast. One such recommendation was the construction of groynes using granite waste.

Referring to recent geo-environmental studies in the State, Dr. Bhushan said they helped the GSI in comparing the post-tsunami scenario with the pre-tsunami situation, particularly with regard to coastal landforms and characteristics of soil and water.

Noting that the studies included Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem and Pondicherry cities, he said the GSI had carried out geophysical mapping in Cuddalore district for freshwater and saline aquifers.

Emphasising the importance of sustainable development, Dr. Bhushan, who inaugurated the conference, said the philosophy of sustainable development required maintaining a balance between the impact of anthropogenic activities and the ecosystem.

Inaugurating the conference, Anna University Vice-Chancellor D. Viswanathan said with increasing degradation of the earth, environmental geosciences assumed critical importance. The recent earthquakes in Sumatra and Kashmir and the tsunami in the Indian Ocean had created greater awareness about the importance of environmental geosciences among policy makers, politicians, environmental organisations and the public. S. Sanjeevi, head of the geology department, gave an account of the activities of his department.

Later, Dr. Bhushan told reporters that after the Sumatra earthquake, the Andaman and Nicobar islands experienced 200 aftershocks of the magnitude of 5 to 6 on the Richter scale.