India on Thursday announced that it would initiate "hazard mapping" across its 7,500 km long coastline to study the impact of global warming and assist in protecting coastal communities and infrastructure.
The study will be done in a span of two years using an aerial mapping system by the Survey of India through a World Bank-funded project Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).
The hazard mapping is a part of the Rs 1,156 crore ICZM project cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday. The World Bank will give Rs 897 crore (87 per cent) of the total money while the rest will come from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The project would develop capacity and institutions to effectively implement the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 1991, to control pollution of coastal waters and to expand livelihood options for coastal communities.
"The elaborate and extensive exercise of mapping, delineation and demarcation of the hazard lines along the coastline, which is being done for the first time, at a cost of Rs.125 crore will greatly assist in protecting coastal communities and coastal infrastructure," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters after the CCEA meeting.
The special focus of the project will be identification and demarcation of coastal fragile areas like mangroves, brackish water wetlands, coral reefs based on which a new category of "Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas" (CVCAs) would be designated and appropriate management plans implemented for their preservation and regeneration.
Ramesh said the hazard mapping will mark the danger areas due to global warming and will be based on four factors - receding shore lines, waves, tides and mean sea level rise.
"The project assumes special significance in the context of climate change since one of the definitive findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relates to the increase in mean sea levels as a result of global warming," he said.
The project in the first phase will focus on three of the eight coastal states - Orissa, Gujarat and West Bengal.
A National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management at Anna University in Tamil Nadu will also be set up under the project at a cost of Rs.166 crore for carrying out work related to coastal management.
"The total number of direct beneficiaries of the project is close to 15 lakh, while the number of indirect but identifiable beneficiaries will be close to six crore," he added.