Focus on vulnerability mapping and bio-shields for coastal protection

A study of the coastal protection requirements of vulnerable segments like Chellanam by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) has said that an issue-based management plan must be developed rather than a resource-based plan. The study on coastal protection and social perspectives also emphasised protection of morphology while adopting coastal protection measures.

Among the suggestions that evolved during a meeting of stakeholders on social and environmental issues was the need for mapping of land use, land form, assets and people’s requirements. The suggestions will be submitted to the government.

Conservation and vulnerability mapping must be carried out to develop a comprehensive coastal protection strategy in view of the conditions caused by the effects of climate change even as monitoring of the existing system should be done to suggest sustainable development protocols.

The study also said a coast-specific management approach was needed in most of the segments while seawall alternative could be developed in the Chellanam area using mangrove planting. Developing a bio-shield of a 30-metre-wide mangrove line along the coast could help Chellanam. Stakeholder and community participation at the base level should be ensured for the sustainability of such measures, the study said.

Chellanam is among the most vulnerable coastal segments in the State and the government has announced a series of measures to protect the coast. Chellanam’s sea erosion problems, though in the news for long, came into prominence after Cyclone Ockhi hit the coast in December 2017. Periodic sea water incursion and flooding of homes have made lives of the coastal population difficult, prompting the government to announce rehabilitation programmes such as ‘Punargeham’.

Meanwhile, KUFOS is expected to submit its final report for turning Chellanam into a model fishing village soon after a final round of studies. The government had announced a ₹344-crore programme to strengthen seawalls, erect geotextile tube barriers and build breakwaters to protect the coast.

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 4:57:06 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/focus-on-vulnerability-mapping-and-bio-shields-for-coastal-protection/article38283093.ece