Why India must keep its coastline clean | editorials | Hindustan Times
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Why India must keep its coastline clean

Marine fisheries wealth in India is estimated at an annual harvestable potential of 4.412 million metric tonnes and an estimated 4.0 million people depend on fisheries for their livelihoods. Marine fisheries contribute to an economic wealth valued at about Rs 65,000 crore each year

editorials Updated: Jul 02, 2017 23:04 IST
Heavy downpour in Mumbai washed ashore 120 tonnes of trash on to Juhu beach on June 27.
Heavy downpour in Mumbai washed ashore 120 tonnes of trash on to Juhu beach on June 27.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

“Oceans are a testing ground for the principle of multilateralism,” United Nations secretary-general António Guterres said at the The Ocean Conference in June. “Conserving our oceans and using them sustainably is preserving life itself.” Unfortunately, not many countries realise this and do enough for their coastline and beyond. After a heavy downpour in Mumbai last week, nearly 120 tonnes of trash washed ashore on to the Juhu beach since all wards along the coastline are facing a serious garbage crisis.

India 7,500-km-long coastline is polluted, thanks to a spurt in population, industrial, agricultural and commercial activities: According to a report by TERI, large quantities of wastewater and agricultural run-off find their way into coastal waters, either directly or through discharge into creeks, estuaries or backwaters. This results in coastal pollution.

Unsurprisingly, the report adds, that the coastal water quality in the Union territories of Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshwadeep, Daman and Diu and Dadra Nagar and Haveli don’t seem to be affected by land based activities and are relatively pollution free.

India is a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals and one of the key promise that it has made is to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds by 2025. Here’s one key reason why India should be serious about meeting this goal: Marine fisheries wealth in India is estimated at an annual harvestable potential of 4.412 million metric tonnes and an estimated 4 million people depend on fisheries for their livelihoods. Marine fisheries contribute to an economic wealth valued at about Rs 65,000 crore each year, said a Down to Earth report earlier this month. The numbers should be enough reason for the government to ensure that we keep our coastline and oceans clean, especially at a time when jobs are scarce.