Protecting our coasts

From the dense mangroves in the Sunderbans and the nesting sea turtles in Orissa to the majestic whale sharks in the Gulf of Kutch and the breathtaking coral reefs in Lakshadweep, India’s 8,000-km-long coastline is a treasure trove of marine life. These waters are also spawning and breeding ground for a variety of fish. The countries fisheries industry has thrived for centuries thanks to the richness of its marine life.

In spite of all this, India’s ocean environment has been neglected. Within the political system, understanding on this issue is either limited or poor and the policy focus is ad hoc. Even with the limited information available it is quite clear that the country’s coast line and marine environment is under threat.

The execution of massive projects such as ports with inadequate assessments of their impacts on the local environment and the livelihoods they sustain is a matter of serious concern. The 11th Five Year Plan has identified 331 ports for development on the mainland. That’s the equivalent of having a port every 20 km or so along India’s 6,000-km-long mainland coast.  

The cumulative impacts of these ports on the environment have not been assessed and their economic advantage is not known as half of the ports in the country are under utilised.

Apart from endangering marine habitats, this also poses a significant threat to the livelihoods of coastal communities. Fisheries resources in several parts of the country are under severe stress. By offering a variety of subsidies and incentives, governments at the centre and state level have allowed too many mechanised boats to operate, resulting in too many boats chasing too few fish.

 Campaign story:

The campaign for oceans is currently focused on three specific areas:

  1. Coastal development: Coastal real estate is most prized for tourism, industries, aquaculture, nuclear and thermal power plants or ports, all of which leave behind a devastated coastal environment. The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 1991 was meant to protect our coasts but has failed to do so. Greenpeace is demanding that the notification be strengthened and implemented and industries and infrastructure projects be kept away from eco-sensitive areas.

  2. Overfishing: Increasingly, a wide range of marine ecologists and scientists think that the biggest single threat to marine ecosystems today is overfishing. The appetite for fish is exceeding the ocean’s ecological limits with devastating impacts on marine ecosystems. Scientists are warning that overfishing could result in profound changes in our oceans, perhaps changing them forever.

  3. Marine reserves: Our oceans are in need of protection – from overfishing, pollution, mining and other threats. Marine reserves are an important tool to protect and preserve areas of our oceans that are rich in biodiversity, ecologically significant and vulnerable to destruction. These areas are closed to all extractive uses, such as fishing, mining, oil exploration, waste dumping etc.

The latest updates

 

Crocodile in Bhitarkanika

Image | March 2, 2005 at 4:30

Crocodile in Bhitarkanika

Save the dugong - stop the airbase

Feature story | March 1, 2005 at 4:30

OKINAWA, Japan — "It is 8:30 am and I and 30 activists have been sitting on drilling platform #4 for an hour and a half. We can see workers from the Defense Construction Agency gathering on the beach of Camp Schwab, the US Marine Corp base at...

Tsunami and the environment

Feature story | January 10, 2005 at 4:30

On December 26 a massive tsunami swept through the Indian Ocean region to become arguably the largest natural disaster in living memory. Questions are now being asked: what are the environmental impacts of this tragedy? Did damaged environments...

Highlights of 2004

Feature story | January 2, 2005 at 4:30

As the year 2005 begins, it is time for us to take stock of the year that was, and bring you the highlights of our work and our victories. Although the Tsunami disaster has quite literally dwarfed everything else for now, it is nonetheless...

Greenpeace: Dhamra Port immediate threat to endangered Olive Ridley Turtle

Feature story | November 19, 2004 at 4:30

PARADIP, India — Greenpeace today called upon Indian authorities to take urgent and proactive steps for the protection of Olive Ridley Turtle mass nesting sites and the natural heritage of the Orissa coast, at a media briefing on board Rainbow...

the press conference

Image | November 19, 2004 at 4:30

the press conference

Students from the Maritime Academy have a

Image | November 19, 2004 at 4:30

Students from the Maritime Academy have a blast on board the Rainbow Warrior in Paradip.

Students visit the SV Rainbow Warrior at

Image | November 19, 2004 at 4:30

Students visit the SV Rainbow Warrior at Paradip

Save our Olive Ridleys now!

Image | November 19, 2004 at 4:30

Save our Olive Ridleys now!

Happy Diwali

Image | November 10, 2004 at 4:30

Happy Diwali

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