The 2.3 km stretch of city beach between the Dr. YSR statue and the NTR statue seems to be facing the risk of erosion as the sea water has recently approached close to the protective walls between the two main junctions. This was reported even after the beach nourishment activity was undertaken by the Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) in February this year.
A visitor P. Akansh said, “On August 2, I saw sea water coming into the protective wall near the coconut groves. The sand eroded and the water even touched the roots of the trees.”
Another eyewitness, who regularly walks on the beach, S. Mahalakshmi, said, “I also found small crackers on the footpath at some places near the Submarine Museum. This may be due to eroded sand under the concrete base of the footpaths. Of course, I noticed it during the recent rains.”
Experts attributed the developments at the beach front in the past few weeks to a number of factors, including recent weather developments such as depressions, low pressures over the Bay of Bengal and incessant rains in the last few days of July.
“Rough sea conditions under the influence of low pressures or depressions have an impact on the beaches, which might lead to erosion. During abnormal weather conditions, sea water usually approaches the coast,” said O.S.R.U. Bhanu Kumar, retired professor of Meteorology Department at Andhra University.
Along with climatic conditions, unbalanced beach nourishment activities can also cause erosion to the neighbouring areas, said scientists at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Visakhapatnam. The authorities, who take up the beach nourishment, should take advice from scientists to undertake such activities in any coastal areas, they said.
Speaking to The Hindu, NIO scientist-in-charge V.V.S.S. Sarma said, “VPA officials did not consult us before taking up beach nourishment activity in the city. They should have consulted some agencies like us. However, on our part, we advise authorities engaging in the beach nourishment activities to seek advice from authorised bodies like the NIO for such works. Excessive dumping of sand in a particular area can lead to erosion of the next or neighbouring beach front. So, the nourishment should be well balanced.”
Meanwhile, The Greater Visakhapatnam Citizens Forum vice president Sohan Hatangadi said that besides beach nourishment, public sector units must focus on mangrove plantations along the coast by spending their corporate social responsibility funds.
“We have many corporate industries and PSUs in the city, but none of them have so far come forward with a proposal for mangrove plantations along the city beaches in areas which are vulnerable to erosion. We will raise this issue in our next meetings.”