Contributing to the state’s sustainable coastal development
Several factors such a population growth and urbanisation have been putting increasing pressure on the fragile coastal zone of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Frequent tsunamis in the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean worsen this problem. In order to help the Tamil Nadu Department of Environment (DOE) overcome this challenge and sustainably develop its coastline, we assisted them in the preparation of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management plan (ICZM). This plan will improve the coordination of developmental activities along the coast of Tamil Nadu. It will also help preserve the balance between development and natural dynamics in the region.
Planning for the future
The South Indian state of Tamil Nadu has a 1,076 km long coastline, which houses a coral reef as well as numerous estuaries, seaweeds, sea grass ecosystems, fishing harbours, ports, and tourist areas. Population growth, urbanisation, industrialisation and growing pollution are putting increasing pressure on this coastal zone. In addition, the state receives an average of 16 cyclonic storms every year – some of them quite severe.
Furthermore, tsunamis in the Bay of Bengal are also of concern. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami greatly impacted Tamil Nadu, which was one of the worst affected areas in India. It highlighted the importance of having an Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) plan in place.With support from the World Bank under the Emergency Tsunami Rehabilitation Project, we helped the Government of Tamil Nadu’s Department of Environment (DOE) develop an ICZM plan. This was the first such plan attempted and completed successfully in India.
Developing an ICZM plan: what it entails
ICZM is a dynamic, multidisciplinary and iterative process that promotes the sustainable management of coastal zones. It covers the complete cycle: information collection, planning, decision-making, management, monitoring, and evaluation of implementation. Important planning issues include:
Our contribution to the Tamil Nadu ICZM plan
The Tamil Nadu ICZM plan had to be amendable in terms of financial, administrative, environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) aspects. It also needed to accommodate the views of the local population and their interests. As part of the ICZM plan, we:
We prepared land use, capability and vulnerability maps with a scale of 1:5000 with land boundaries visible for the entire coastal stretch. All the maps run from the coast to 2.5 km inland. They go up to the village boundary and include full administrative units. This is the first time for an Indian state to develop maps of this sort for the entire length of its coastline. These maps will benefit various governmental departments and other stakeholders and help in future planning.
In addition, a SAMP was prepared for the DOE requested us to work on specific SAMPs, particularly focusing on:
Stakeholder consultation meetings were conducted at appropriate places and the valuable suggestions received were incorporated into the SAMP. For the inter-sector impact assessment, we identified and described the most significant environmental issues such as pollution in estuaries due to aquaculture and industry, degradation of mangroves due to forestry, overfishing and erosion, among others as well as social issues in the areas. Since ICZM is a new tool in India, we provided training to the government officials, NGOs and stakeholders as well.
Improved coordination of developmentalactivities along the coast of Tamil Nadu
Ability to balance environmental,economic, social, cultural and recreationalobjectives with the dynamics of nature
Provided governments and stakeholders with a trusted tool for future planning
Senior OfficialDepartment of Environment (DOE)Government of Tamil Nadu
Department of Environment (DOE), Government of Tamil Nadu
MIKE 21 Hydrodynamics (HD) Flow ModelMIKE 21 Spectral Waves (SW)
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