Beach erosion poses big challenge to policymakers

Changing beach morphology and concrete jungle syndrome on the beachfront in violation of CRZ guidelines aggravated the problem. Experts say construction of ports on the east coast using breakwater has been causing littoral drift during south west monsoon resulting in accumulation at the entrance channel and northern sides partially cut off from sand supply.

January 05, 2015 11:43 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 11:07 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM:

A major portion of footpath and road that collapsed due to high tidal waves adavancing towards the coast and severe erosion near Kursura Museum in Visakhapatnam. Photo: K.R. Deepak

A major portion of footpath and road that collapsed due to high tidal waves adavancing towards the coast and severe erosion near Kursura Museum in Visakhapatnam. Photo: K.R. Deepak

Beach erosion which hogged the limelight after collapse of footpath at Kursura Museum exactly a year ago has now turned bad to worse exposing thoroughly lack of proper planning by the powers-that-be.

Though Visakhapatnam is the only cosmopolitan city of Andhra Pradesh and the government has plans to transform it into a leading industrial hub of the country frequent erosion creating panic among tourists and investors warrants immediate remedial measures – both short-term and long-term.

After inspecting the affected area at the submarine museum, Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation,and Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority National Institute of Oceanography and Pune-based Central Power Water Research Station (CPWRS) were asked to study the problem.

Nourishment “Beach erosion noticed now was on expected lines under the impact of Severe Cyclonic Storm Hudhud and several systems formed in the Bay. We have been engaged by Visakhapatnam Port every year for a particular period to pump two lakh cubic metres near Coastal Battery. Emergence of an island near RK Beach last year after nourishment proved our efficiency,” Dredging Corporation of India Chairman and Managing Director D.K. Mohanty said.

“I believe there is a need for nourishment on a massive scale on the entire beach stretch which may involve an amount of Rs.100 crore or so,” he told The Hindu when asked about how much needed to stop frequent erosion.

Changing beach morphology, concrete jungle syndrome on the beachfront in flagrant violation of Coastal Regulation Zone guidelines and disinclination by various agencies to fund beach nourishment has aggravated the problem over the years. Besides funds, sediment source is also falling to pump sand to fill the eroded areas. Hence, alternative sites have to be identified besides riveting and dumping of boulders.

Experts say construction of ports on the east coast using breakwater has been causing littoral drift during south west monsoon resulting in accumulation at the entrance channel and northern sides partially cut off from sand supply.

Realising the need for beach nourishment, Visakhapatnam Port has been collecting sand from a Sand Trap created between sunken ship and breakwater near Dolphin’s Nose to nourish the beach near Coastal Battery for past two decades. “We need regular monitoring of erosion on the entire 30-km long Vizag-Bhimili beach road and nourishment at all vulnerable areas,” said NIO senior scientist V.S.N. Murthy.

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