Skip to main content

Gujarat’s coastline may become more vulnerable as sea levels rise: ISRO report

By Rajiv Shah 
Gujarat’s coast is back in news, but for wrong reasons. A new ISRO report for the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, has found adverse impact on mangroves due to industrial activity along the sea coast. A rise in the sea level may further adversely impact the coastal area, it adds. 
A new report by the Space Application Centre (SAC), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Ahmedabad, called “Coastal Zones of India”, has suggested Gujarat – which has the longest coastline in India, of 1,600 km – is becoming increasingly vulnerable because of industrial activity along the coast, on one hand, and rise in the sea level, on the other. Signs of vulnerability can already be visible, with Gujarat becoming one of the four states where there has been “considerable decrease in mangrove vegetations”, other states being Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. On the other hand, the report reveals, “Significant increase in the mangrove area has been noticed for the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and West Bengal.”

Prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, the report shows, the quality of mangroves in Gujarat is perhaps the worst in India. “The average height of major mangroves is — Godavari (4.5m), Krishna (4.5m), Bhitarkanika (6m), Mahanadi (6 m), Andaman and Nicobar (7.7 m), Muthupet and Pichavaram (5-6 m), and Gujarat (2-3)”, the report says. Assigning values for healthiness to mangroves in terms of height, it adds, tree height index value 10 metres (m) or more and more is considered healthy for mangroves, 7–10 m is moderately healthy, 4-7 m moderately unhealthy and less than 3 m unhealthy.Rise/ fall in mangrove cover in India
The study says, these facts came to light not just by satellite imagery but by approaching the mangrove assemblages from the adjoining saltpan or port roads. “The area was surveyed on foot. Information on the mangrove diversity, density, height and soil and water samples was collected from the study area”, the report states, adding, among the major reasons for decline in mangrove cover and unhealthy mangroves along the Gujarat coast is that “industrial development along the coast is very fast and it occupies 192.21 sq km.” Further, “Gujarat is a major salt producer in India and salt pan occupies 1115.6 sq km. “
Gujarat mangrove vegetation is observed in the districts of Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Anand, Bharuch, Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Amreli, Junagadh, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Kutch. The total mangrove cover in south Gujarat is 81.09 sq km. As for South Gujarat and up north along the sea, the report says, more area of Bharuch is under mangrove vegetation (62.18 sq km) than Valsad (18.90 sq km) and Ahmedabad (36.32 sq km). In Saurashtra, “Porbandar covers maximum mangrove vegetation (92.05 sq km), followed by Amreli (63.83 sq km). Mangrove vegetation accounts for 24.22 sq km and 10.80 sq km in Junagadh and Bhavnagar respectively. Jamnagar district occupies 149.62 sq km area of mangrove cover.”

In Kutch, “Kori creek occupies the maximum mangrove cover in Gujarat (407.77 sq km).” Further in the district, “the islands of Bocha and the adjoining mangrove areas, including the Bharadi-Mata creek area, support dense mangroves on the fringe areas. Most of the other areas have sparse mangroves. Only one species of true mangrove was found here. The species was avicennia marina. In addition to the true mangrove species, several mangrove associates and salt marsh species were also observed growing in the area. They are suaeda fruticosa, suaeda nudiflora, suaeda maritime, urochondra setulos, cyperus sp., salvadora persica and salicornia sp.”
Pointing towards how the area under mangrove vegetation in Kutch has undergone “a large change in the past few decades”, the report says, “The development of the port has decimated the mangroves on Navinal Island, except for a few patches on the west and east of the port complex. There has been a change in the mangrove area surrounding the Mundra port. The saltpans adjoining it have been reclaimed and even much of the mangrove area has been taken over.”
No doubt, “on the extreme south are present some of the tallest mangroves in the Gulf of Kutch. The heights of the mangrove trees here reach five meters.” And, at another locality, good mangroves are found is the Bharadi-Mata Creek area towards the west. This area is currently far away from the port and thus not under its influence so far. However, the report predicts, “With the approval of the special economic zone in the vicinity, the mangroves of this area are also under threat.”

Coming to Mundra port and special economic zone (SEZ) area, which is in the news for mangrove cutting and environmental damage, the report states, “The mangrove vegetation near Mundra is one of the most impacted mangrove assemblages in Gujarat. The area has seen the development of one of the largest private ports in the country. The development of the port has also led to the establishment of a SEZ in the vicinity of the port."
It underlines, “The development has had a substantial impact on the natural vegetation of the area. The Island of Navinal on which the main port is situated is now devoid of mangrove vegetation except for small patches on the east and west sides. The development of a private railway for the movement of goods has also caused damage to mangrove vegetation.”
Though occupying only a small area, the report says, “Its development has led to filling up of several creeks that has stopped the movement of water within the mangroves. The mangrove area, east of Bocha Island represents one of the best patches on the north Gulf of Kutch coast. This area has borne the brunt of direct cutting of mangroves as well as burying of mangroves under sand. Sand that is dredged from the nearby creeks is used to completely bury the mangroves so that there is no need to cut them. This has slowly progressed from the central region and is gradually moving to the outer fringe.”
The only area which has allowed continued growth of mangroves because of very little industrial activity, the report states, is the area next to Jakhau, situated on the western tip of Kutch district. “The height of the mangrove trees in a few areas has reached 8.5 m. The average height in most of the mangrove stands is more than 3.5 meters, which is the lowest average found near Chibli Thar. This mangrove stand is approachable by foot from the adjoining saltpans. The highest average height of 6.5 m is found on the mangrove islands found to the west of Jakhau Creek where there is the least anthropogenic influence”, the report says.
Not only mangroves, the report says, in the Gulf of Kutch, coral reefs, too, “degraded with time as and when industrial development became intensive along the southern coast.” It adds, “Onshore developmental activities affected the coral reefs, coral reefs were dredged for cement industries. Loss in mangrove cover has also resulted in sediment loading in the coral reef environment and has caused degradation to the intertidal corals.”
Coming to coastal vulnerability issues, the report says, “The predicted tide along the Gujarat coast line was used to classify the coastal vulnerability on the basis of tidal range. Tide prediction tool of MIKE-CMAP is used to obtain the predicted tidal elevation of the 23 tidal stations along the Gujarat coast. Very high mean tide is found in Bhavnagar (6.52 m), high mean tide are found in Kandla Harbour (4.84 m), Navlakhi (5.175 m), Sultanpur, Ambheta (5.67 m), Dahej Bandar etc.”
Further, it says, “Moderate vulnerable area are found in Cori creek entrance (2.059 m), Koteshwar, lakhpat, mandvi,Sikka, Okha, Valsad (3.88 m), Dahanu etc. Very mean tide range is found in Godia creek (1.81 m), Porbandar, Veraval etc, and very low vulnerable is found in Miyani (0.98 m)”.
The report says, “Considering the Inter-government Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-predicted sea level rise of about 59 cm by the 2100, the areas likely to be affected along the Gujarat coast were mapped and the loss of different land use and cover/ geomorphological feature are quantitatively estimated. Risk Level map was prepared from coastal vulnerability index (CVI) and coastal length under different risk categories was quantified.”
Based on predictions of sea-level rise, it says, “about 35.74 per cent of the total coast is under high risk and is mainly around the Gulf of Kachchh and the Gulf of Khambat. The geomorphic features are high tidal mudflats, creeks, estuaries and river mouths. The main reason of the high risk area are due to soft substrate, low to moderate slope and moderate to high shore line erosion rate. About 28 per cent of the coastal segment of the Gujarat coast is under moderate risk and is found mostly along the south of Gujarat coast and eastern portion of Gulf of Khambat and distributed in the remaining area. The rocky coastal area, low to moderate slope and less shoreline erosion are responsible of moderate risk.”
The report further states, “The risk classification shows that about 26.34 per cent of the Gujarat coast is under the low risk category. The low risk area are Saurashtra coast, i.e. from Dwarka to Diu, south of Kachchh i.e. Mandvi to near bustard sanctuary, and distributed in length in south Gujarat and east of Khambhat coast. The main cause of low risk are rocky coast, high slope, and shoreline erosion is very less, although significant wave height is moderate to large.”
Quantifying risks, the report says, “The results show that area under very high risk level is 357.54 sq km, high risk level area is 2628.75 sq km, moderate risk level area is 6694.61 sq km and Low risk level area is 2706.29 sq km. The CVI of Gujarat coast shows the relative potential of coastal changes due to future sea-level rise. Coastal geomorphology and mean tide range are the most important variables in determining the CVI for the Gujarat coast since both variables reflect very high vulnerabilities along nearly the entire shoreline.”

Comments

TRENDING

Sorry state of Indian academics: why was I thrown out of Delhi varsity interview room?

By Dr. Abhay Kumar*  The interview for the post of political science (Guest) was scheduled on Saturday afternoon, September 10, 2022. Given my previous experience, I was not willing to appear for it. But friends persuaded me to go and fight for our rights. I reached the college well before the time. When my turn came and I entered the room. The first question was asked about my experience. I said that I had taught for four semesters at NCWEB. I mentioned that I had taught ”Comparative politics”, “International Relations”, “Comparative Political Thoughts” and “Indian Government and Politics”. I said that as a teacher I had taught all the articles listed in the syllabus of the same Delhi University and the expert could ask anything about any reading or ideas. Friends, the first question asked by a female member, perhaps she is the principal of the college if I am not wrong, to give the full form of NCWEB! The second question asked by a male expert, perhaps he is the political science dep

Musician and follower of Dr Ambedkar? A top voilinist has this rare combination!

Some time back, a human rights defender, Vidya Bhushan Rawat, who frequently writes for Counterview, forwarded to me a video interview with Guru Prabhakar Dhakade, calling him one of India's well known violinists.  Dhakade is based in Nagpur and has devoted his life for the Hindustani classical music. A number of his disciples have now been part of Hindi cinema world in Mumbai, says Rawat. He has performed live in various parts of the country as well as abroad. What however attracted me was Dhakade's assertions in video about Dr BR Ambedkar, India's undisputed Dalit icon. Recorded several years back at his residence and music school in Nagpur, Dhakade not only speaks candidly about issues he faced, but that he is a believer in Dr Ambedkar's philosophy. It is in this context that Dhakade narrates his problems, even as stating that he is determined to achieve his goal. A violinist and a follower of Ambedkar? This was new to me. Rarely do musicians are found to take a

Tokens, symbols or incipient feminists? : First generation women sociologists in India

By IMPRI Team  The online event on the theme ‘Tokens, Symbols or Incipient Feminists? : The first Generation of Women Sociologists in India’ was held as an initiative of Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi under the #WebPolicyTalk series of The State of Gender Equality – #GenderGaps. Inaugurating the session, Zubiya Moin welcomed the speaker and participants to the program, followed by an introduction to the eminent panelists. Commencing the program, Prof Vibhuti Patel made her opening remarks welcoming Prof Kamla Ganesh, Feminist Sociologists and then greeted Prof Ratna Naidu and the editors of book ‘Reimaging Sociology in India: Feminist Perspective’, Dr Gita Chadha and Dr. Joseph M.T. along with Prof Arvinder Ansari and also welcomed all participants. She set up the stage by making us familiar with women sociologists and their works. Dr Gita Chadha, Editor of the book ‘Reimaging Sociology in India: Feminist Perspective’ After th

Omission of duty by BSF and police: Hindu forcefully kidnapped, taken to Bangladesh

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), & National Convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI) writes to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission: *** I am writing this to focus on the life and situation of the poor and marginalized villagers living alongside the Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal. Through the several complaints we made throughout the years to your good office, it is now evident that the people of this border are living in an acute crisis, not only from a financial perspective but also in terrible distress. The people of the border are devoid of their basic rights and are subjected to immense torture, harassment and restrictions mostly enacted by the Border Security Force personnel, who are supposed to be posted at the international borders with intentions to protect the Indian citizenry. However, on the contrary, incidents of victimizing Indian citizens are being witnessed at large by the BSF. 130 Bhot

Tamil Nadu govt claiming to reform Hindu religion, temples. People deserve better

By NS Venkataraman  For the last several decades, there have been hate campaign against Hinduism in Tamil Nadu in a subtle or not so subtle manner. Initially, it was a hate campaign against brahmins and the brahmins were abused, insulted and physically attacked. Fearing such conditions, many brahmin families left Tamil Nadu to settle down in other states in India or have gone abroad. Now, the brahmin population in Tamil Nadu is at microscopic level, for which these hate campaigners against brahmins were responsible. Later on, emboldened by the scenario of scared brahmin families not resisting and running away, the hate campaigners started focusing on Hindus. For some years, when M.G.Ramachandran and Jayalalitha were the chief ministers of the state, the hate Hindu campaigners were not much heard, as both these chief ministers were staunch believers in Hindu philosophy and have been offering prayers in temples in full public view. However, in the last eighteen months in

Emerging dimensions of India’s foreign policy in the context of global politics

By IMPRI Team  The three-day course took place recently, providing participants with an understanding of the development of Indian foreign policy, the complexity of geopolitics, and its flexibility to adjust to and even shape global outcomes. Many distinguished academics, senior scholars, former Indian diplomats, and journalists who are skilled observers and commentators of India’s foreign policy will serve as instructors for this course. Day 1 The three-day immersive online certificate training on “Emerging Dimensions of India’s Foreign Policy and Global Politics”, an initiative by the Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) at IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), began on July 14th, 2022 at 5:00 PM (IST) on Zoom platform. Dr Souravie Ghimiray served as the emcee throughout the 3 days of the event and welcomed the distinguished speakers of Day 1. The esteemed panel on Day 1 consisted of, Dr Soumita Basu, Associate Professor, Department of Intern

Demographic parameters of India@75: resource allocation, political representation

By IMPRI Team  As per UN Population Prospects 2022, India is going to be the most populous country in the world. In this regard, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi with #IMPRI Center for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD) , organized a panel discussion, #WebPolicyTalk, as part of the series The State of Population Development- #PopulationAnd Development on India@75: Most Populous Country? The moderator of the event was Mr Devender Singh, Global Studies Programme, University of Freiburg and a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists for the event were Prof P.M Kulkarni, Demographer, Retired Professor of Population Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) , New Delhi; Dr U.V Somayajulu, Co-Founder, CEO and Executive Director, Sigma Research and Consulting ; Dr Sonia George, General Secretary, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Kerala; Prof K.S James, Director and Senior Professor, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai. Th

Bhagawat Gita shows the way for the attitude to life and desirable goal of life

By NS Venkataraman*  When a mother delivers a human body, this body has no identity. Then, parents, relatives, friends consult each other and discuss the alternate appropriate names and arrive at a suitable name for this human body and this body is known and identified by this name. This human body, which steadily grow just like animals, plants and others and after experiencing the pleasures and pains of worldly life alternately for several years, perish one day, for the body to be burnt or buried. This body, bearing a name as it’s identity, comes in to the world and goes away from the world and the name that is the identity for the body also goes away along with the body. This is the scenario for several thousands of years that have gone by. The question: One question that does not seem to be still “convincingly explained” in a way that will appeal to the brain in the human body, is as to whether this human body only consists of flesh, bone and blood with well

Implementing misleading govt order to pollute Hyderabad's 100 year old reservoirs

Senior activists* represent to the Telangana Governor on GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD), Government of Telangana: ‘...restrictions imposed under para 3 of said GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996 are removed...’: *** Ref: GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996: ‘To prohibit polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment of the lakes upto 10kms from full tank level as per list in Annexure-I...’ We come to your office with grievance that GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by Government of Telangana not only contains false information issued ‘By Order and in the name of the Governor of Telangana’ , without any scientific or expert reports, but also that implementation of the said GO is detrimental and can be catastrophic to the Hyderabad city as two 100 year old reservoirs Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar were constructed as dams on river Moosa and river Esa, with the first and

Tattoos and intimidating gestures can't always win cricket matches for India

By Sudhansu R Das  Team India waited with baited breath for the outcome of the Pakistan vs Afghanistan match. Speculation was on about India’s return to the game if Pakistan loses to Afghanistan until Pakistan’s tailender, Naseem hit two massive sixes to win the match for Pakistan. Unfortunately, Afghanistan lost the match after being in a strong position till the last over of the game; two full touch balls in the final over turned the match into Pakistan side. The Afghanistan team would never forget this blunder and shock for a long time. India’s team management should introspect and take tough decision keeping in view of the tough match situation in the world cup matches. India lost two crucial matches in the Asia Cup. It could not defend a big total of 176 against Pakistan due to mediocre bowling attack, sloppy fielding and unimaginative captainship. It failed against Sri Lanka in similar fashion; it could not defend another respectable T 20 total of 171 runs. It was a pat