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Monday, March 24, 2014

Long Coastline of Andhra : a discovery by policy makers

Once arrival of new state of Andhra is announced, politicians are busy searching for clothes to dress the baby. Andhra politicians discovered long coast line and daily assure the public that this strategic advantage would transform economy of new state. It may be possible to build ports, power plants, economic corridors provided the coastal land is not eaten away by cyclones. 
The long coast needs natural or manmade sources, which can dissipate or deflect the potential wind and wave energy and protect the coastal life and properties from the calamities,  called as coastal shelterbelt. These can be hard defenses like static shoreline structures such as those constructed from timber, steel, concrete, asphalt and rubble. Soft defenses include mobile/ responsive defense measures, seek to work with nature rather than control it. Such structures may consist of sand or shingle beaches and dunes or banks, which may be natural or constructed, and may include control structures. These can include soft solutions of beach nourishment, cliff/dune stabilization, bypassing and managed retreat. A 'bio-shield' is formed by planting a vegetation belt along coastlines would protect India against future coastal storms, cyclones and tsunamis.
Antonio Mascarenhas in his paper in current science highlighted:

  • failure of hard structures indicate the unsuitability of extensive coastal protection works.
  • wide beaches and high dunes act as efficient dissipators of wave energy. However, dense population crushed this option.
  • coastal forests, green shelter belt is a better option but they need to be repaired after every cyclone and merged with economic activity of share based population.
  • network of canals , drains, tidal creeks are essential to drain storm water. 
Will the new govt accord priority to coastal protection?

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