In less than a decade, more than 7% of the country’s coastline has eroded due to rapid development activities. According to the Coastal Protection and Development Advi-sory Committee, the extent of sea erosion along the 5,422.6-km mainland coastline has increased sharply from 22.4% in 2004 to 29.96% this year.
With 40% of its coast eroded, Maharashtra is the fourth longest stretch of degraded coast after Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal.
“Huge development along the coastline is eroding the sea and affecting coastal environment and biodiversity at a scale that is unsustainable and untenable,” said Sudarshan Rodriguez from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Deonar.
TISS along with the National Coastal Protection Campaign, Pondy Citizens’ Action Network and the Bombay Natural History Society released a report ‘The Challenged Coast of India’ at the ongoing 11th meeting of the Conference of Parties-Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad.
According to the report, settlements, sand mining, large developments such as ports, power plants and allied industries on the coastline are responsible for erosion.
Construction of coastal structures such as sea walls meant to protect the beach, harbour, port or shoreline also results in erosion on either side of the coast.
“The government’s response to erosion has been building structures seawards to protect the shore instead of taking measures to arrest coastal degradation,” said Rodriguez.