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

 

Conservation of marine life and sustainable fishing key to future of India's East Coast

Feature story | November 7, 2004 at 4:30

CHENNAI, India — Over 400 citizens of Chennai visited the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior at Chennai port on Sunday where Greenpeace kicked off its "Save our Seas" tour with a vigorous discussion amongst conservationists, scientists,...

Greenpeace ship SV Rainbow Warrior to tour the East Coast of India

Feature story | October 15, 2004 at 3:30

BANGALORE, India — In the world's oceans, scientists have discovered strange and mysterious creatures in the darkest depths that are found nowhere else on the earth. But these creatures and their habitat are today threatened by myriad human...

Of mice and whales

Feature story | June 1, 2004 at 3:30

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — They go by aliases and real names: Echo. Bluplanet. Ann Novek. Tig3933.Chris99. They stop nuclear reprocessing plants, save forests and whales, hound corporations and hold the feet of bureaucrats to the fire. Who ARE...

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