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Challenges of marine management

2,374 km of coral reefs, 700,000 hectares of mangrove cover, over 2,500 species of fish, eight species of sea turtles…This backgrounder by Sudarshan Rodriguez and Aarthi Sridhar describes the complexity of India’s coastal ecosystems and outlines the challenges to these systems from habitat destruction, ineffective fisheries management, over-exploitation of bio-resources, pollution and weak implementation of laws


Ocean pollution

Nearly 250 million people live within 50 km of India’s 8,000 km coastline. Eighty-seven cities and towns located in these coastal areas together dump 5.5 billion litres of wastewater into the sea every day. Less than a tenth of this water is treated, making the scale of pollution of our coastal ecosystems daunting, writes Rahul Goswami


Coastal refugees

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels in India are expected to rise at the rate of 2.4 mm a year; in 2050, the total increase will be 38 cm, displacing thousands. For nearly 25% of India’s population living along the coast, global warming is a question of survival rather than a scientific theory, says Richard Mahapatra


The hungry tide

Cyclone Aila has snapped the fragile balance between man and nature in the Sunderbans, a mangrove-covered mud-flat where human settlement was enabled roughly 100 years ago by the construction of 3,500 km of embankments. An entire coastal ecosystem based on rain-fed sweet water perished in the deadly embrace of salt that came with Aila. Santadas Ghosh reports


The sinking of the Nicobars

The earthquake that caused the tsunami of December 2004 has altered the topography and ecology of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands forever, writes Pankaj Sekhsaria. So far the impact of such marked changes in topography do not seem to have been taken into account by policymakers and government


Porous borders, unsafe waters

The 3.5 lakh fisher people of the Rann of Kutch have been swept up in the gigantic brawl between India and Pakistan. After the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai they live in perpetual dread of being apprehended by the Pakistani maritime authorities for straying into their waters, and endless inquiries and detention by the Indian security forces. Anosh Malekar reports


Saltpan city

Mumbai’s saltpans stretch over 5,000 acres, nine times the size of the defunct mill lands. Governments and the city administration have been eyeing these protected areas for commercial development, ostensibly to house the poor, writes Freny Manecksha. Environmentalists argue that these saltpans, with their thick mangrove forests, are Mumbai’s last defence against ocean flooding


Tradition versus tourism

The unbridled growth of tourism in ‘God’s Own Country’ has wrought an ecological disaster along the Kerala coast and famed backwaters, writes Anosh Malekar. Some 2,000 houseboats spew sewage and kerosene into the backwaters that locals use for cooking and cleaning, the mangroves have shrunk to 1% of their original size, beaches are being privatised and local communities are being displaced and dispossessed of their livelihoods


Fish wars in the Global South

By Anosh Malekar

Ten thousand tonnes of fish that would have been available for the common man are converted into fish meal to produce 1,000 tonnes of shrimp that only the rich can afford to buy, says Thomas Kocherry, who has for decades been organising coastal communities around the right to fish. In this interview he explains the challenges faced by 13 million fisher people in India who face displacement, the predatory practices of industrial fishing fleets, and pollution



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