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Seas rising @ 2.5mm/yr

Indian seas are rising @ 2.5mm/yr can spell doom for over 7.1 mn people living in the coastal areas in the next 50 years, reports Chetan Chauhan.
Hindustan Times | By Chetan Chauhan, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 18, 2008 02:29 AM IST

New data showing that Indian seas are rising at the rate of 2.5 millimetres per year can spell doom for over 7.1 million people living in the coastal areas in the next 50 years.

The empirical evidence of the impact of global warming on the country shows that the sea level is rising 2.5 mm every year as against an earlier trend of 1 mm.

Minister of State for Environment Namo Narain Meena informed the Rajya Sabha that this finding was made by the Indian Space Research Organisation.

IIT-Delhi’s research on the new data shows that if the trend continues, the sea level would rise between 15 to 38 centimetres by the middle of the century and 46 to 59 cm by end of this century. This projected rise matches the global projection of 50 cm by end of the century. The IIT’s research and ISRO data confirm the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said that half of Mumbai and many coastal cities in India might be submerged when the sea level rises by 50 cm.

Not only would the cities and coastal areas get submerged, but the intensity of cyclones hitting India, especially the east coast, will also increase, the IIT-D research document states.

“Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal are more vulnerable than the west coast to the fury of cyclones and massive damage of life and property occurs almost every year,” the research document said. These cyclones would have a huge impact on the rural economy of coastal India.

The research pointed out that 4.6 per cent of India’s coastline could be inundated, affecting about 7.1 million people in Gujarat, Mumbai, south Kerala, deltas of the Ganga river, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The islands of Lakshadweep would be totally lost, the report said.

Meena however tried to scale down fears by saying that the government was aware of the implications of the rising sea level due to the projected climate change and was working on climate change mitigation.

Meena said a high-level coordination committee chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been set up for assessment, adaptation and mitigation of climate change while the National Environment Policy 2006 addresses the issue of global warming. The committee is expected to submit its report on climate change mitigation by June this year.

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