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Development causing erosion in Mumbai; sea bunds, mangroves can protect coast, say experts

Construction of structures that protrude into the sea reduces natural sedimentation and beach rejuvenation, say experts

mumbai Updated: Feb 14, 2018 11:38 IST
Badri Chatterjee
The most eroded coastline in Mumbai is Dadar-Shivaji Park beach.
The most eroded coastline in Mumbai is Dadar-Shivaji Park beach.(HT File Photo)

Marine experts said developmental activities along the Mumbai shoreline was one of the main reasons for coastal erosion.

E Vivekanandan, scientist and consultant, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, said, “Construction of structures along the coast that protrude into the sea reduces the natural sedimentation or beach rejuvenation. This might be one of the main factors for an increase in erosion along Mumbai’s coast. However, other examples are a change in currents and a rise in sea level overtime or even a combination of both for a prolonged period that can erode a beach severely.”

The Maharashtra Shoreline Management Plan (MSMP) 2017 recorded the natural coastal process, land use and environment details by providing extensive information on infrastructure, erosion and the community needs.

“Erosion takes place when the literal sediment transport or beach building process is disturbed by a range of human-based activities. While we do not consider seasonal changes as erosion, progressive changes over a long period of time are worrisome,” said N Mani Murli, scientist, National Institute of Oceanography, Goa.

The most eroded coastline in Mumbai is Dadar-Shivaji Park beach. Raghuvendra Shukla, a lawyer and resident of Dadar, said with the construction of Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the natural rejuvenation of the beach with fresh sand has stopped.

“The area towards Prabhadevi has become completely rocky while a portion of Chaityabhoomi’s left side is also facing the same threat. Garbage has reduced the beach to nothing but a small strip of sand,” he said.

Sivabalan Athmaraman, marine biologist and resident of Versova, suggested three solutions to prevent the erosion: plantation of mangroves; construction of anti-sea erosion bunds; and sand bags.

Officials from the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) said the MSMP 2017 was partly funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the central and state governments, with a cost of $100 million. Am official from MCZMA said all projects that could degrade the coastline have been rejected. “We have asked the state government to dispense funds to begin activities regarding rejuvenation of the coastal areas,” said Jitendra Raisinghani, deputy director of MMB.