Geotube coastal protection project to be extended from Poonthura to Cheriya Muttam

₹150 crore allocated for KIIFB-funded work; geotubes act as a barrier, diminishing the strength of oncoming waves and resulting in deposition of sand particles onto shore, creating a stable beach

January 16, 2024 08:27 pm | Updated 08:27 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The second phase of the Geotube coastal protection project under way at Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram.

The second phase of the Geotube coastal protection project under way at Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram.

Buoyed by the successful implementation of the first phase of the Geotube Offshore Breakwater Coastal Protection Project at Poonthura, the Kerala government has decided to extend the project to another 700 m from Poonthura Church to Cheriya Muttam in the next five months.

The State government has allocated ₹150 crore for the project.

Funded by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), this collaborative project, being executed by the Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation Limited  (KSCADC) and the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), aims at safeguarding the coastline from Poonthura to Valiathura. The environment-friendly approach is expected to benefit both local fishermen and tourists. It will also help in preserving the marine ecosystem by presenting a holistic solution to coastal protection and also minimises construction along the coastline.

Custom-made geotubes filled with sand, placed strategically offshore, act as a barrier, diminishing the strength of oncoming waves and resulting in a gentler wave action. It results in deposition of sand particles onto the shore, creating a stable and usable beach.

Sustainable approach

Describing the pilot project as a milestone in Kerala’s conservation initiatives, Fisheries Minister Saji Cherian who visited the project site on Tuesday, said: “The project, first-of-its-kind in the region launched in 2019, marks a major departure from traditional methods that rely on diverse rock formations. It introduces an innovative and sustainable approach that circumvents the use of rocks.”

Three layers of geotubes are placed 6-m deep on the seabed, running parallel to the shore at a distance ranging from 80 to 120 m. The surface of the geotube breakwater serves as a formidable barrier that substantially diminishes the force of huge waves approaching the coastline. The Minister said this innovative design not only mitigated coastal erosion but also fostered the development of a broader beach. It also helped beach nourishment by the pumping of sand from the deep sea to the coast

“There is a plan to assess the success of this pilot project and replicate the same in other regions susceptible to coastal threats,” Mr. Cherian said.

The geotubes, crucial components of the project, were sourced from China, after obtaining special permission from the Central government. These geotubes, in lengths of 20 m, 16 m, and 12 m, and a circumference of 15 m, serve as the backbone of the coastal protection structure.

The strategic placement of geotubes preceding the monsoon season yielded remarkable transformation in the coastal landscape. A noteworthy outcome was the effective prevention of wave overtopping the seawall. The resultant beach formation proved to be sustainable even amid inclement weather conditions.

Traditional methods of coastal protection, such as rock barriers, have raised environmental concerns and resource depletion.

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