Rising trend of sea surges: Experts call for restoration of mangroves

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on July 15, 2021

These vegetation act as bio-shield for the coastal belt


Marine experts have warned that coastal areas in Kerala will witness an increasing trend of sea surges in the coming years, thanks to rise in sea surface temperature. They were speaking at a webinar organised by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute on Saturday as part of observing the World Environment Day.

Voicing concern over the calamities faced by the coastal community due to high waves and sea erosion, the webinar called for restoration of coastal vegetation giving emphasis to mangrove forestation, which according to the experts act as bio-shield to coastal belt in protecting the lives of residents in the region.

Warming of the seas

The webinar highlighted that the entire Kerala coast recently witnessed ‘storm surge’ during the two cyclones — Tauktae and Yaas. Experts are of the view that such storm surge are likely to occur in the coast increasingly in coming years with the rapid warming of the waters in the Indian Ocean. Alarming winds by the cyclones help form storm surge in the waters which results in high waves, sea erosion and flooding in the coastal hamlet. This was evidently seen recently especially in coastal areas like Chellanam, they said.

Kerala’s coastal region could be protected from the wrath of the sea to a great extent through restoration of mangroves and other biodiversity in the region, said CMFRI Director A Gopalakrishnan. “Conservation of coastal biodiversity, which is in deterioration owing to many reasons including constructions, is the best long-term natural option for protecting the lives of coastal people from sea turbulence”, he said, adding that mangroves act as a model bio-shield to the coastal stretch.

A recent study revealed that mangroves protect coastal wave actions and severe surges, based on observations done in Mumbai coastal region. There are lots of ideal areas along the coastal stretch in Kerala which can be conserved for mangrove forestation, he said.

Feasibility studies

The webinar, which was attended by leading experts from the country who work on mangroves, recommended that restoration of coastal vegetation along Kerala coast should be planned in a social forestry concept with public participation. Feasibility studies are required for identifying potential areas for mangrove forestation, it proposed. Conducting awareness programmes among different stakeholders to build a bio-green belt along the coast aiming to protect the residents in the area was also suggested.

Published on June 06, 2021

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