Sea erosion part-2: Have foresight, cover with greenery and stop erosion

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By Snehalatha
Bellevision Media Network

Udupi, 09 June 2011: In the last 20 years, 100 crores of rupees have been spent to stop sea erosion, but the erosion has never stopped. Is that meaning it is impossible to stop this sea erosion? If we ask this to the government officers and the politicians they will put forward their plans of constructing a permanent wall of rocks or concrete. But as per the environment specialists it is impossible to build a permanent wall like that, it is completely non-scientific plan and thought, the same was tried in Udupi and D.K. districts all these years and it never worked, they say.


So what is the solution? As per the famous biologist of Udupi Dr. N. A. Madhyastha, the first strategy is to convince the people living in the sea shore and make them migrate by giving them compensation and replacement land and house. This will not stop the sea erosion, but can stop the losses. The second strategy is covering the greenery throughout the sea shore, which means growing the suitable trees and plants.


To justify his strategy Dr. Madhyastha gives the example of Maravanthe beach. The west side of the beach is always subjected to sea erosion. Since the last 10 years crores of rupees have been spent and wall of rocks has been built here. But all these go off in 1 – 2 years. But south side of the same beach does not have any erosion. The reason is there are trees at the sea shore, underneath them there is grass and roots grown. These do not allow the erosion to take place. This is the natural stop wall and the sea has to submit to it, says Dr. Madhyastha.


Since the sea shore has salty atmosphere, all kind of trees will not grow there. But trees like coconut tree, palm tree will grow. Mangro plant, Lantana, Cactus and similar plants with long roots will grow well. These can be grown without any fertilizer or water. The roots of these plants and trees will stop the impact of the sea water waves and will stop the sand washing off, so no erosion will take place.







In Udupi; Gangolli, Kundapura, Kaup, Udyavara, in all these places we can see these trees and plants here and there. Wherever these trees and plants are there, there is no erosion and we can see the examples in just few meters away, where there are no plants the erosion is taking place there. This is enough to learn how to stop erosion.


Along with this, removal of sand from the shore has to be compulsorily stopped, says Dr. Madhyastha. From the shore to the sea there is a minute biological balance. Removing the sand from there, causes imbalance and the result can be seen with the behavior of the sea on the shore. We should not carryout unnecessary activities at the shore, sea has its own land and it will not allow the humans to take it away, he says.


If the politicians wish, the removal of sand can be stopped immediately, but convincing the people of the shore and shifting them, covering greenery, all these are time consuming strategies, these require foresight plans. The money that will be spent on dumping the rocks, if spent on growing greenery with proper consultation from the environmental specialists, then it is possible to stop the erosion permanently.


This does not mean that our politicians do not know these alternatives, but they do not want to have a permanent solution for this. They are more interested to submit the account to the government on the money spent on dumping the rocks and get crores of rupees released for the next year, than growing these trees and plants!.



Comments on this Article
Philip Mudartha, Qatar Sat, June-11-2011, 3:46
Five categories of strategies have been employed. Placing rocks is a universal and falls under hard stabilization technique. Groynes, sea walls, revetments, rock Armour, gabions and breakwaters are chosen by experts. If you visit South Mumbai shoreline, you will find examples of them. Choice depends on factors including local politics. Even land reclamation, as in South Mumbai, is a technique. Every strategy has its downside. No two experts will agree on an ideal solution. Choices are made, and in making these choices, there are aggrieved parties and benefited parties. Political intervention takes place in persuading the experts or over-ruling them to promote individual or party interests, which is why institutions of democracy should be strengthened. RTI, Lok Pal Act, and such progressive legislation should be supported.
Philip Mudartha, Qatar Sat, June-11-2011, 3:27
BJP coined the term vote bank and widened its political base. Terms like minority appeasement, forced conversion, pseudo secularism etc. appealed to a sizable chunk of voters. BJP went on to gain power, thus creating a vote bank of its own, supplanting vote bank of its rival Congress. In a democracy with a electoral system, vote bank is legitimate and is the only way to gain, hold and exercise political power.
Vignesh V.A., Moodubelle Fri, June-10-2011, 10:23
Both solutions are good. But the second solution is not one or two days plan. Growing trees across the seashore takes years of time. So first I prefer providing a safe accomodation for seashore people. Also we should look for a temporary alternate plan along with growing trees.
Joe Dsouza, Mangalore Fri, June-10-2011, 1:55
Dear Philip, as mentioned in the article the point is how to prevent the erosion. Why do you dump the rocks when it does not solve the purpose. Make development with minimum or no destruction. Construct ports, navigation channels, light houses, boat anchorages where naturally suitable (not vote bank suitable). For example Kaup light house is on rock, so there is no destruction and no erosion. Are you a politician....
Philip Mudartha, Qatar Fri, June-10-2011, 7:51
I differ with the author and most reactions. Sea erosion is complex natural phenomenon unlike linear equations. Sea levels are rising. Earth is evolving. Rainfall, winds, sunshines and cloud formation obey no one's laws other than their own. The human endeavor has been to try and understand nature using science in order to find ways to manage nature. In the process, also to assess if and how human activities, including economic development that everyone demands, affect negatively and promote ill-effects such as sea erosion. Scientists like Madhyastha discover keys to minimize the losses; yet, if they claim to have the final answer, they are conning us. Promoting mangroves and destruction of shore green cover are known keys. But construction of ports, navigation channels, light-houses and boat anchorages are our developmental needs. Fishing and sea-faring activities is our survival need. Do you want your politicians to end all development? There is nothing simpler than blaming politicians for everything and anything, including for late or early arrival of monsoon. Oh, please let us grow up and not approach earth issues with pigheadedness.
Suresh Nayak, Murudeshwara Thu, June-9-2011, 9:56
Dear Snehalatha, your last para of the article sums up the whole content. But who is there to bell the cat ? Unless the people of local community do not protest strongly and demand a lasting solution, these politicians will fool the public year after year.
Rakesh Suvarna, Mumbai Thu, June-9-2011, 9:52
What a beautiful coastline we have, but no one is there to take care of it. We may realize the importance only when we lose it due to sea erosion and bad planning.
Benedict Noronha, Udupi Thu, June-9-2011, 8:52
Well writing with beautiful scenary. I was wondering about my feelings, now I find several youngsters are following me in a way to dig at the politicfal leaders and about their schemes. The last para is very impressive. Keep it up Snehalatha. This is another way of saying that the political leaders are not fair in their roles in solving these problems.
Louis Menezes, Udupi Thu, June-9-2011, 6:22
Sea erosion is natural disaater. It means if somewhere land is reclaimed, nature is its own way to take back. So it is better to maintain the sea shores as original rather inviting troubles.
Sudhir Shetty, Udupi Thu, June-9-2011, 1:04
Thanks Snehalatha for the informative article. Everyone knows what is the root cause for this recurring problem of sea erosion and also what is the solution for same. But unless Government and its officials are serious enough about issue, this will be a repeated issue for years to come. Anyway its a way of making money for the politicians. Unless the people of Udupi Mangalore district realize the importance and put pressure on Government, this problem is not going to solve.
Victor DSouza, Moodubelle / Doha Wed, June-8-2011, 3:18
How beautifully our natural sea shore can be preserved, but only the politicians need to have the will. Thanks Ms Snehalatha for the informative article with beautiful pictures.
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