Kerala

In 12 years, 227 acres in CRZ reclaimed

Fate is sealed: Holy Faith apartments and Alpha Ventures at Maradu on the banks of Kochi backwaters.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

The coastal ecology of Maradu has been impaired with around 227 acres of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) area — the size of 171 football fields, according to a rough estimate — having been reclaimed between 2002 and 2014, said experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.

The massive conversion of the CRZ area in Maradu, where the Supreme Court has ordered the demolition of four apartment complexes that have come up in violation of CRZ norms, was highlighted in the demolition impact assessment report prepared by an IIT team.

There has been “widespread reclamation work carried out in the wetland areas of Maradu municipality for construction activities,” during the 12-year period.

101 instances

Of the 101 reclamation works carried out during the period, 71 were completed. The developers did not spare land forms, including filtration ponds, intertidal zones, mangroves, mangrove buffer zones, and waterbodies, during the period.

Around 40 acres of mangroves in the mangrove buffer zone were encroached upon during the said period. Almost all reclamation works, except one, seemed to have affected the intertidal zone. “Nearly half the work has affected mangroves, one-fourth has affected mangrove buffer zones, and half has affected filtration ponds. Two works have affected waterbodies,” said the report.

Going by the number of reclamation works, maximum damage was inflicted on the intertidal zone, followed by mangroves, filtration ponds, and the mangrove buffer zone, it added.

Images compared

The researchers analysed satellite images from Google Earth corresponding to 2005, 2010, and 2018 to take stock of the changes in land use/land cover due to urbanisation in the local body. A qualitative comparison of the images indicated that major changes have occurred in land use and cover over the past two decades resulting in substantial decrease in vegetation cover, while the increase in built-up space is obvious, the report pointed out.

While the “built-up area seems to have increased by up to three times over the past two decades, the vegetation area [trees and dense trees] seems to have decreased by more than half during the past two decades,” it was reported.

On the ecological impacts of reclamation, the report said the removal of mangroves has resulted in “significant [negative] impact on the environment, including water pollution, depletion of fisheries, loss of carbon sink and biodiversity and protection against coastal hazards.”


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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 10:56:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/in-12-years-227-acres-in-crz-reclaimed/article29452598.ece

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