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NGT Calls for urgent measures to protect Islands from rising sea levels

Discover the detailed report outlining urgent measures to protect islands at risk from the rising sea levels. Learn why NGT took action.

By Ground report
New Update
NGT Calls for urgent measures to protect Islands from rising sea levels

A joint committee, set up by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), has sounded the alarm for urgent measures to shield islands at risk from rising sea levels, a consequence of climate change.

The detailed report, conceived as a countermeasure to the urgent problem of sea-level rise, underscores the necessity for topographic surveys, forward-thinking policies, and cutting-edge technologies to protect these susceptible island populations.

The National Green Tribunal, an authoritative body constituted under the National Green Tribunal Act of 2010, mandated the creation of this joint committee on July 11, 2023. This decision was made in light of escalating concerns about the repercussions of sea-level rise on islands.

The committee, which includes representatives from the National Institute of Oceanography, National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, and Survey of India, was assigned the responsibility of thoroughly examining the issue and formulating policies and strategies to alleviate the risks confronting these islands.

Key recommendations

One of the key recommendations of the report is the undertaking of field-based topographic surveys. These surveys are essential to map the precise inundation patterns of islands under various climate change scenarios. The accurate data generated by these surveys will be crucial in understanding the extent of the threat posed by rising sea levels and for devising effective protection strategies.

The proposed green infrastructure includes the plantation of mangroves, salt marshes, coastal dune vegetation, and other halophytic vegetation. These natural barriers can significantly reduce the impact of coastal hazards and provide a sustainable solution to coastal erosion.

The committee also advocated for hybrid and natural structures that are not 100 per cent hard solutions but a combination of vegetation and eco-friendly materials, submerged reefs, artificial reefs, oyster reefs and undertaking coral and seagrass transplantation and coral gardening. These mitigation measures in identified hotspots will help in restoration of degraded reefs and seagrass beds.

Officials from the National Institute of Oceanography, National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management and Survey of India composed the joint committee. The committee had a three months deadline to submit their report, scheduling the first meeting within 15 days at NIO, Goa.

For the full joint committee report, please refer to the official document available here.

Background Information

The issue of sea-level rise due to climate change is a global concern, with many island communities facing unprecedented challenges. Rising sea levels threaten not only the livelihoods and homes of residents but also the fragile ecosystems of these regions.

The joint committee report is a significant step forward in addressing these issues in the Indian context, offering a comprehensive assessment of the challenges and a roadmap for protection and mitigation.

As climate change continues to shape the world's landscapes and coastlines, the lessons learned from this report may hold value for other regions confronting similar challenges. The preservation of islands and coastal communities is a shared responsibility, and the recommendations contained within this report may serve as a blueprint for future actions worldwide.

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