Stopping destructive development

Coastal ecosystems are a vital livelihood resource for millions of fishers, a protective barrier against storms, tidal surges and tsunamis and a source of recreation for millions. This makes coastal real estate the most prized for tourism, industries, aquaculture, nuclear and thermal power plants or ports – all of which leave behind a devastated coastal environment. Industry and sections of government are colluding to grab huge swathes of land in coastal India at the cost of local communities, the environment and biodiversity.

An example of coastal land grab is the rampant port proliferation that is changing the Indian coastline. Over 300 ports are proposed for the coast of mainland India – that’s an average of one every 25 km! Many of these are in or near mangroves, mud flats, nesting and breeding grounds for important marine creatures. But do we really need so many ports? Or is this a massive private land grab by gullible or corrupt government planners?

The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification 1991 was originally meant to protect our coasts. It divided the coast into zones of varying ecological sensitivity and prohibited industrial activities in the most sensitive ones. However, over the last 20 years, the notification has been progressively diluted and weakened to suit industrial and ‘development’ interests. Greenpeace is demanding that the CRZ notification be strengthened and implemented so that industries and infrastructure projects can be kept away from the most eco-sensitive areas.

Campaign story

For several years, Greenpeace has been fighting the Tata Steel-L&T Dhamra port in Orissa, as an example of the threat that port development poses to the Indian coast. The port is now built, despite the threat it poses to the Bhitarkanika and Gahirmatha protected areas and species such as the Olive Ridley turtle, Horseshoe crab and Saltwater crocodile. However, it is essential that the mistakes of Dhamra are not repeated – we cannot afford more such ecological disasters.

By focusing on the wrongs of the Dhamra port, Greenpeace has highlighted the threat that ports in general pose to the Indian coast and lobbied for national level measures to ensure that rampant port development is checked.

Greenpeace is therefore demanding that the Ministry of Environment and Forests place protection of the coastal environment and dependent livelihoods above industrial concerns and prohibit the construction of new ports or expansion of existing ones within 25 km. of eco-sensitive areas.

The latest updates

 

A late night meeting at Chandini Pal in Orissa

Image | February 17, 2006 at 4:30

A late night meeting at Chandini Pal in Orissa is lit up by vehicle headlights, while Greenpeace campaigners talk to fish-workers about conservation efforts, during the MV Sugayatri's Boat Yatra.

Children from the fishing village of Dhamra

Image | February 17, 2006 at 4:30

Children from the fishing village of Dhamra join the Greenpeace Ocean Defenders in painting banners with marine creatures, as part of the Sugayatri's Boat Yatra in Orissa.

The beaches of Orissa are one of three remaining

Image | February 9, 2006 at 4:30

The beaches of Orissa are one of three remaining mass nesting sites for the Olive Ridley sea turtle in the world. Every year, several hundred thousand turtles nest along the coast, mainly at the Gahirmatha, Devi River Mouth and Rushikulya River...

A familiar sight on the beaches of Orissa

Image | February 9, 2006 at 4:30

A familiar sight on the beaches of Orissa : Olive Ridley Turtles caught in deathly nets. Mechanized fisheries and illegal trawling continually drive the Ridleys into the brinks of extinction.

Baby turtles out in the sun.

Image | February 9, 2006 at 4:30

Baby turtles out in the sun.

The Greenpeace Sugayatri at sail

Image | February 6, 2006 at 19:07

The Greenpeace Sugayatri at sail. The Sugayatri, once a fishing boat, will spend the next three months monitoring the mass nesting season of the Olive Ridley in Orissa, India.

Olive Ridley turtles mating off the coast

Image | February 6, 2006 at 18:53

Olive Ridley turtles mating off the coast of Orissa, India. Every year, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles congregate in these waters to mate and then nest in a perfectly synchronised arribada.

An Olive Ridley trapped in a trawling net

Image | February 6, 2006 at 18:41

An Olive Ridley trapped in a trawling net. Over 100,00 dead Olive Ridleys have been found washed ashore in Orissa over the last decade.

Life and Death on the beaches of Orissa

Feature story | February 6, 2006 at 4:30

ORISSA, India — Our Turtle Witness Camp was launched on 27th January and in the first week alone, we’ve witnessed the circle of life in all its gore and glory. We’ve watched, awe-struck, as scores of mating turtles surface around the faithful MV...

An Olive Ridley turtle up close and personal

Image | February 6, 2006 at 4:30

An Olive Ridley turtle up close and personal. Every year, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles congregate in these waters to mate and then nest in a perfectly synchronised arribada.

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