Climate change and Greenhouse effect are taking a toll on our natural resources...indeed! Rumors have it that a large part of the land mass on the face of the globe will be submerged by the ocean. We have accepted that too.
But it is time that we start taking the forthcoming warnings seriously.
A manmade calamity
The Indian sea beaches are spread across a span of 7,500 kilometers and prove to be an asset not only for tourism, but for the fishermen and the coastal villages.
While fishermen find a landing place for their everyday catch in the beaches, there are endangered species like the Olive Ridley turtle and red crabs who lay eggs on the beaches.
Moreover, these also prove to be a protective wall against high tides for the coastline villages. And a world without beaches could be as fatal as an earthquake or a drought.
Beaches are formed of sands brought by the rivers while they join the sea. Adding to this is the sea current moving from south to north direction and vice versa, which enables the movement of the sand and spreads it across the coast. Interestingly, the sand and the sediments deposited in our beaches account for a whopping 1.2 billion tonnes every year.
Blood on our hands
Excessive beach construction, harbours and ports have played an immense role in destroying the greatest natural resource we have. Take the Puducherry harbour, for instance. After it was constructed in the 1980s, authorities realised that it was too shallow for ships and abandoned it. Now only smaller boats use it today.
However, the breakwaters that were built led to continuous beach erosions. Breakwaters are constructions or boulders that jut into the sea, so that they can break the high tide, enabling the safe anchoring of ships.
These also restrict the movement of the sand along the coastline.
While that is just one side of the story, the other side highlights a deserted picture as the sea current move from South to North in the major part of the year. So the incoming sand from the rivers is accumulated on the southern side of the breakwater while the northern part of the beach gets eroded.
The temporary solution of depositing rocks harms the natural balance in another way. While most of it gets drowned by the sea, more and more of it is being dumped on the coastline, at the cost of the mountains and the forests that are being exploded to serve the purpose.
It is not late
If that has knocked us back into our senses, it is time that we acted immediately. We have to work out sustainable methods of contruction along the beaches that also support the sand restoration.
However, the bottomline is we have to plan what we need and discard what we do not. Unneccessary construction is not only a loss of money and time, but also a destabilizing factor for the environment.