National

Centre unveils plan for coastal zone management

The Coastal Road project under construction at the coast of Breach Candy in South Mumbai before it was struck down by the Bombay HC on June 16./ File   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Environment Ministry has unveiled a draft plan that will dictate how prospective infrastructure projects situated along the coast ought to be assessed before they can apply for clearance.

The draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) is part of a World Bank-funded project.

The document lays out guidelines out for coastal States to adopt when they approve and regulate projects in coastal zones.

“The project seeks to assist the Government of India in enhancing coastal resource efficiency and resilience, by building collective capacity (including communities and decentralised governance) for adopting and implementing integrated coastal management approaches,” the introduction to the report notes. The document was prepared by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management, a Ministry-affiliated body.

Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) has to be a continuous process rather than a “one-off” investment action, the report said.

So far three coastal States, namely Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal, have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank.

Such plans would be prepared for the selected coastal stretches in other States/UT, the project notes.

Proposed activities

The key activities proposed for coastal zone development that consist of investments by States include: mangrove afforestation/shelter beds, habitat conservation activities such as restoration of sea-grass meadows, eco-restoration of sacred groves, development of hatcheries, rearing/rescue centres for turtles and other marine animals, creation of infrastructure for tourism, restoration and recharge of water bodies, beach cleaning and development, and other small infrastructure facilities.

Livelihood improvement projects include demonstration of climate resilient or salinity resistant agriculture, water harvesting and recharge/storage, creation of infrastructure and facilities to support eco-tourism, community-based small-scale mariculture, seaweed cultivation, aquaponics, and value addition to other livelihood activities.

The plan describes how “environmental and social aspects” ought to be integrated into the planning, design, implementation of projects.

“Projects should strive to avoid or minimise impacts on cultural properties and natural habitats, compensate any loss of livelihood or assets, adopt higher work safety standards, occupational and community health and safety,” the document underlines.

Inadequate planning has often obstructed coastal zone development projects. On June 16 the Bombay high court struck down the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for its ₹14,000-crore Coastal Road, which is part of the Eastern Freeway to be constructed to provide an alternate speedy connect between South Mumbai and Western suburbs. This was on the grounds of an inadequate scientific study by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management and lapses by the Union environment ministry which had overlooked these lacunae.


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Printable version | Jul 22, 2021 2:17:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-unveils-plan-for-coastal-zone-management/article28872370.ece

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