06 July 2011

Climate Change to affect socio-economic development and environment of Gujarat, India:

According to a highly technical impact assessment report done by the state government to know the impact of the climate change and sea level rise(SLR) on the state through the professional agencies it has found that climate in next one or two decades start showing considerable socio-economic and environmental impact.

Gujarat has the largest 1660 km long coastline in India which has helped the state in economic development but at the cost of environment. Before two years Gujarat Government has started a new climate change department in the state but still it has not shown any exemplary results. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has last year written a book on Climate Change, Initiatives by Gujarat Government.

According to an important assessment report prepared by the state government Alang Coast (where Asia’s largest shipbreaking yard is), in 1969 AD, it was 10 sq km at specified stretch of the coast, in 2000 Ad, it was 10.2 sq km at the same stretch (Increment of 0.20 sq km). At another important coastline of Poshitra in 1966 AD, it was 2.66 sq km at specified stretch of the coast, in 2001 AD, it was 6.41 sq km at the same stretch of the coast (Increment of 3.75 sq km), At Umargaum in 1985 AD, it was 7.03 sq km in lagoon area in River Varoli Estuary, in 1997AD, it was 8.25 sq km at the same location (Increment=1.22 sq km).

According to the report in next 10, 20 and more years SLR will make considerable impact on mangroves, wetlands, coral reefs, mammals, coastal invertebrates, human population, impact on coastal industries, impact on heritage sites etc.

The report mentions that SLR will cause various positive and negative impacts on the mangrove areas of the state. At some places mangroves area will increase while at some areas it will have negative growth and also create positive-negative impact on local area. The SLR will also change wetland area of the state in next few years. By 2025 wetland area of state will reduce from 28150 sq. km area to 10613 sq. km in 2025 which will increase again up to 21226 sq. km in 2050.

SLR will leave negative or neutral impact on Boria reef, Lafa merundi, Goos reef & Siri reef near Sikka port, while SLR may create positive impact on Karumbhar Island near Salaya, Pirotan Island and Bhaindar near Jamnagar.

The report further noted that SLR will not impact on Reliance Industries Ltd. Tank Farm at Sikka, GEB Sikka, Tata Chemicals Mithapur in Jamnagar district while in Kutch district Mundra and Kandala industrial Estate will not have no impact by 2025 but by 2050 there may be some under ground seepage of sea water & sea ward while 2100 AD there may be excessive under ground seepage of sea water & sea. According to the report it SLR will not impact much on industries at Surat, Bharuch, Vapi etc., places.

According to the report SLR will cause submergence of around 502.04 sq km area by 2025 and 1136.25 sq.km area by 2050. Erosion of 10 to 40 km coastline is also possible in 2025 and by 2050.

Religious and other heritage sites will not have major impact due to SLR in next few years but Diu, Somanath Temple & Chorwad Castle would have some impacts, Chanch Bungalow in Port Victor may have some weathering effects, and ancient Temple of Lord Shiva in Koliak which remains exposed during lowest tide may be submerged at the end of this centaury.

According to the report the SLR will not create great challenge for humans in state and as such no measures required, total about 2 lakh persons within 1000 m of High Water Line, those actual persons on the Edge of HHW are few hundreds only (in All Coastal Districts) they should be rehabilitated in the same villages in Govt Waste land, Fishermen should be given financial aids, other Labors should also get land.

Salinity ingress will also be a major challenge for the state due to SLR in next few years. According to the report appropriate Halophytes to be planted in all Districts (Probable Exp: Rs 100 Crores), Creeks/rivers etc – provided with check dams & suitable barriers-Ground Water Recharge (Probable Exp: Rs 1000 Crores), tidal Regulators across the rivers (Probable Exp: Rs 500 Crores), Planned Reservoirs with regulated discharges, Dykes, Pitching & Shore Protection in the pervious coastal land.

Source:  Desh Gujarat. 4 July 2011

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