TRINet Blog

TRINet Newsletter April 2011 +  


The Twin Disaster in Japan +  


TRINet Newsletter March 2011 +  


Is the Ocean turning into a Plastic Soup? +  

Map showing ocean gyres where garbage accumulates

The ocean has become a repository of most of the waste humans generate. Every year, a large amount of plastic debris that enters the oceans releases persistent bio-accumulating and toxic compounds into the sea. Most of the plastic in our oceans is buoyant and lightweight so they get transported by ocean currents and gather in convergence zones in the sea. These zones have been called ocean landfills, garbage patches and even plastic soup by the media and environmental activists. Though this accumulation of plastic is visible and an indicator of the larger issue of marine litter, a majority of the plastic polluting the sea are small fragments that are not visible and hence not detected by satellite imagery for monitoring and studying.


It is almost impossible to quantify the exact amount of plastic debris that enters the oceans but land based sources of these inputs include poorly managed landfills, riverine transport, untreated sewage and storm water discharges, wind-blown debris, industrial and manufacturing facilities with inadequate controls, recreational use of coastal areas and tourist activities. In general, more litter is found near areas of thick human populations and consist mainly of consumer plastic items like bottles, shopping bags and personal hygiene products. Offshore sources of plastic pollution include fishing and recreation vessels, cruise liners, merchant shipping, oil and gas platforms and aquaculture facilities.


Studies have shown that plastic production had a steady growth rate since the 1950s till 2008 where the economic downturn saw a drop in 25% of production.


TRINet Newsletter 01 February 2011 +  



The long awaited, much discussed and fought over CRZ 2011 notification was finally gazetted on 07 January 2011. For the very first time, an Island Protection Zone Notification 2011, that covers all island territories, was also gazetted.
The notification has special provisions for Greater Mumbai, Goa and Kerala, and has identified Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCAs) like the mangroves of Sunderban; Chilka and Bhitarkanika in Orissa; Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat; Malwan in Maharashtra; Karwar and Kundapur in Karnataka; Vembanad in Kerala; Coringa, East Godavari and Krishna Delta in Andhra Pradesh and the Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu.
Other new features of this notification include the inclusion of 12 nautical miles of coastal waters and all coastal water bodies affected by tides such as creeks, rivers, estuaries etc without any restrictions on fishing within this zone; coastal zone management plans to be made after consultations with traditional coastal communities; a hazard line will be demarcated in the next five years; and a proposed mapping of the shoreline through time-series satellite images with no development in high erosion foreshore areas.

Book Review: Natural Resources Conservation Law by Sairam Bhat. +  

Natural resources account for a fifth of the wealth of developing nations. It is only recent times that we have realised that indicators of development like GDP do not account for the depletion of natural resources; in fact they tend to promote it because GDP treats both the production of goods and services and the value of asset liquidation as part of the product of a nation.

TRINet Newsletter 01 January 2011 +  

Team TRiNet wishes you all a super duper new year.
This January, we have floods, and a genetic garden in Nagapattinam; a series of articles on water resource management; about coastal commons in Goa; a review of the 2010 UNEP year book; capitulation at Cancun; India or China; who's more green; the significance of the Vedaranyam Salt March; articles on the sixth anniversary of the Asian tsunami; new office bearers of the NFF; a documentary on the death of the oceans; videos on the top ten scientific breakthroughs; the psychology of belief and much more.
News and Analysis:

TRINet Newsletter December 2010 +  

Can Artificial Reefs Save our Coasts? +  

Underwater sculpture by Jason de Caires Taylor for an artificial reef project in Grenada
Our oceans are full of tiny organisms constantly sinking down towards the sea bed, attaching to any hard, secure surface such as a rock outcrop. These attachments are a kind of colonisation that creates the basis of a natural reef system. Only 10 to 15% of the sea bed has a solid enough substratum that allows the formation of reefs. Reefs attract and harbour diverse forms of marine life and also provide sanctuary for marine life to breed. 

Artificial reefs are human-made underwater structures that allow and harbour marine life in featureless ocean beds. Some artificial reefs can improve hydrodynamics that promote surfing and sometimes contain sea erosion. They also ease the pressure on existing reef systems that have been over-fished or over-visited, and provide new habitat for marine life. They are usually constructed with secure, durable and environment friendly material and can form naturally in wrecks of sunken ships and submerged parts of oil platforms. 

Artificial reefs for fish aggregation go way back in history. During the 17th century reefs of building rubble and rocks were used in Japan to grow kelp, while the earliest recorded construction of artificial reef in the US is from 1830s when logs from huts were used off the coast of South Carolina to improve fishing.