November News Digest

Fish and prawns back in Buckingham Canal stretch: A two-km stretch of the Buckingham Canal in north Chennai that had been completely clogged and had plenty of effluents now has clear water. This follows the efforts of the Revenue Department, environmental activists and fishermen of the Ennore area to desilt various stretches of the canal, especially the point where it empties into the Ennore Creek.

CIBA compound wall caves in partially: CHENNAI: A portion of the compound wall of the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA)’s experimental station at Muttukadu has caved-in due to massive sea erosion. This, it is stated, was caused after the State fisheries department built a row of groynes.  CIBA Director K Vijayan told Express that high tide waves are hitting the compound wall and already loosened its foundation in several portions. Two days back, all the three steps which provide access to the facility from the sea front caved in.

Fisheries department against removing groynes: CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Fisheries Department moved the southern bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking suspension of the order directing removal of groynes and wall built in Kovalam. Fisheries Commissioner Beela Rajesh has filed the appeal before the green bench. Walls and groynes were constructed to address the serious problem of sea erosion at Kovalam where the sea had rapidly advanced into the village for about 130 meters, the appeal said. “The project was executed in the light of the pressing urgency involving the lives of the fishermen/villagers. Demolition of the groynes and seawalls, which were remedial measures, may not be the solution and in fact, would only cause further environmental damage. It is, therefore, pleased to suspend the order,” the official submitted before the tribunal. The department claimed that several representations were given by the villagers and  there was a threat to houses being washed away and even boats could not be parked,” the appeal read.

Neglecting natural buffers, Kerala is building walls to keep out the sea: The coast of Kerala, where rain-laden clouds of the southwest monsoon make landfall, is losing its natural edge: . Granite blocks and concrete walls now bind much of the sandy beaches, where generations of children played at the edge of the water. Artificial structures along the Kerala coast cover 301.3 km, which is more than half of the coastline length of 576.1 km in the state. The length of the coastline with some form of erosion (low, medium or high) along with artificial structure measures 370.9 km. This is a little more than two-thirds of the length of Kerala’s coastline.

Only 16% salt pan land can be developed in Mumbai: MUMBAI: Only a portion of the over 5,400 acres of salt pans in Mumbai can be built upon as most of it falls under the coastal regulation zone (CRZ), where construction is virtually prohibited. A 2010 Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) report shows that only 16% of the city's 5,430 acres can be developed.

Industries in Mundra, Gujarat, flout coastal regulation, adversely impacting locals' groundwater needs: Report: Planning for the biennial Vibrant Gujarat world business summit, to be held in January 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state suffers from complete failure to cope up with the adverse impact of industrial investment on the livelihood of local communities, suggests a new report prepared by a group of researchers.  The report, titled “How effective are environmental regulations to address impacts of industrial and infrastructure projects in India”, has been prepared by research team consisting of Krithika Dinesh, Meenakshi Kapoor, Kanchi Kohli, Manju Menon and Preeti Shree Venkatram of the CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Programme, Delhi. While the report suggests that the state has been faster in granting environmental clearances than most other states – with a 93% of approval coastal clearance rate compared to Tamil Nadu’s 86%, Andhra Pradesh’s 85%, Karnataka’s 85% and Maharashtra’s 74% -- it points to how quick approvals have had adverse impacted local communities and environment.

Embrace the spirit of Sendai, urges India PM: NEW DELHI, 3 November 2016 - The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, today urged participants in the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction “to wholeheartedly embrace the spirit of Sendai, which calls for an all-of-society approach to disaster risk management.” In his inaugural address, the Prime Minister said: “In India, we are committed to walk the talk on the implementation of Sendai Framework. In June this year, India’s National Disaster Management Plan was released which is aligned with the priorities set out in the Sendai Framework. “In our effort to build disaster resilience, we stand shoulder to shoulder with all the nations of the region. Regional and International Cooperation has an important role in providing an added push to our efforts.”

TN babus giving false info on pvt fishing harbour plan: centre: CHENNAI: Accusing officials here of submitting false information to help a private firm build fishing harbour in the Coastal Regulation Zone’s (CRZ) ‘no development’ area in Kanniyakumari district, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has vehemently opposed the appeal against cancelling the clearance. It noted that the area identified for the project had natural sand dunes, frequented by marine turtles during breading season. After the proposed fishing harbour in Needakarai village in Agastheewaram taluk was cancelled by the Ministry, Rajakkamangalam Thurai Fishing Harbour Private Limited had moved the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal.

East Coast Road four-lane project gets National Green Tribunal nod: CHENNAI: People travelling to Puducherry on East Coast Road (ECR) may soon enjoy a pleasant drive with the southern bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) giving its approval for the four-lane project. Disposing of a petition filed by S Venkatesh of T Nagar, the bench, comprising MS Nambiar and expert member PS Rao, pronounced a 40-page order on Monday, wherein it said the project doesn’t attract Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) or Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notifications. Interestingly, another bench in the NGT headed by P Jyothimani had earlier issued an interim stay on the project saying prior environment clearance was not obtained.

Reduce shacks on Bardez’s popular beach stretch: NCSCM: Panjim: Shack permissions along the Calangute-Candolim-Baga-Sinquerim stretch have been given for just one season as the beaches have exceeded their carrying capacity.The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), which conducted a study of the beach carrying capacity across the State, actually recommended a reduction in the number of beach shacks along these beaches for the current tourism season.“In case of Calangute-Baga to Sinquerim, though the carrying capacity is available based on footfalls, the carrying capacity in terms of number of shacks has exceeded and thus the number of shacks to be erected on these beach stretches were to be reduced by eight, based on the concept of length and 33 percent beach area to be occupied,” NCSCM recommended in its report. However, Tourism Department objected to the recommendation stating that these beaches are frequented by a large number of tourists. The department said that the number of shacks to be allotted under the previous policy was frozen in 2014 and thereafter an increase of more than 40 percent in arrival of tourists can be reasonably assumed as is made out from the year to year increase in total arrival of tourists in Goa. After listening to both agencies, Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) decided that since, Baga-Sinquerim stretch is frequented by a high number of tourists, the number of shacks proposed to be erected may be maintained at the earlier numbers as permitted during the last tourist season under the tourism policy of 2013-2016 as against the figure of 188 recommended by the NCSCM. This year permissions have been given to 196 shacks along this stretch.

India improves ranking in Climate Change Performance Index: The 2016 index issued by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe said, India made some improvements and ranks one place below Indonesia in the category of moderate performing countries. India has climbed six places to 25th position amongst 58 countries in the latest Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), which emphasised that developing countries should not ape industrialised nations, but choose a “cleverer and cleaner” development path. The 2016 index issued by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe said that regarding renewables and energy efficiency, India’s scores improved “slightly”. India made some improvements and ranks one place below Indonesia in the category of moderate performing countries, it said.

Replanting mangroves in Kachchh saves coast, people, world: Hassan Bhai stretches his sinewy, sun-tanned, fisherman’s arm’s across a large swath of the Gulf of Kachchh and proudly shows the mangrove plantation that people from his village, Luni, nurture. Dots of green bob up and down the waterline in high tide over a stretch seven kilometres along the coast. Hassan says the fishers love the mangroves, as fish grow, spawn and breed in them. They also protect the coast from storm surges, especially cyclones. An industry giant, the Gautam Adani group, that owns a port, power plant and a special economic zone in the nearby coastal town of Mundra, bankrolls mangrove regeneration — even though the move follows destruction of huge tracts. Hassan often finds himself hiring villagers on daily wages to plant mangroves, chasing away Kharai camels, a Kachchhi breed that graze on mangroves, and arguing with Rabari nomadic pastoralists who bring them.

Mainstreaming The Gender Dimension In India’s Climate Change Discourse: The 4th Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change released in 2007, unambiguously states that climate change is not gender-neutral and women experience it differently than men.News reportsabound of exacerbated effects of climate change on women in the poorer and vulnerable parts of the world. It is a well-documented fact that globally women constitute the majority of the poor. They have lower literacy rates, lesser job security, marginal landownershipand carry a disproportionate burden when it comes to caregiving, undertaking domestic chores, and working in the fields. Cultural restrictions and patriarchal norms act as further disadvantage in their everyday lives.A purportedly minor effect of climate change such as the drying up of a well or pond can aggravate everyday drudgery for women dependant on natural resources, whereas in serious situations such as weather related natural disasters, traditional care giving roles restrict their ability to migrate. Women, thus, are more vulnerable than men in the face of climate change.