More than a kilometre of beach recently lost in Chellanam, finds Cadal study
Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation, an independent fishers’ union, has said it will approach the Union government for support for taking up beach nourishment activities along the 17-km coastal segment between Chellanam and Fort Kochi.
The Federation said the Centre’s support would be needed for the purpose as material dredged from the shipping channel in Kochi could be utilised for recreating the beach close to Chellanam. The Federation plans to submit a memorandum to the Union government, highlighting serious sea erosion in the segment.
The Federation’s State president Jackson Pollayil said each of the coastal districts in Kerala had its own peculiar problem related to coastal erosion. In Kochi, the port-related dredging activity is directly controlled by the Union government and a decision by the Centre would be required, he added.
According to the Federation, the major causes for sea erosion in Chellanam are sand mining activities in Andhakaranazhi in Alappuzha district, and dredging for maintaining Kochi’s shipping channel.
The Coastal Area Development Agency for Liberation (Cadal) under the Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council has also submitted a proposal to the State authorities to use dredged material from the shipping channel for beach recreation. According to a study by the agency, more than a kilometre of beach has recently been lost in Chellanam and if a solution is not found, one of the most densely populated panchayats in the State will permanently disappear from the map.
Estimates by Cadal state that between 18 and 21 million cubic metres of material is dredged from the shipping channel annually. The material is then deposited about 20 km west of the shipping channel. The Coastal Protection and Development Advisory Committee too had recommended that the dredged material be utilised for Chellanam beach nourishment, said the Cadal study.
The study also identified 12 spots along the Chellanam coast that suffered the most from deepening sea water and loss of beach. The deepening of the sea has resulted in the conventional granite seawall crumbling in many places. The damaged seawalls are located in Vachakkal (200 metres), Companyppady (700 m), Malakhappadi (300 m), Bazaar (900 m), Velankanni (500 m), Parakkadavu (300 m), Chavupuram (300 m), Cheriyakadavu (500 m), CMS (500 m), Kattiparambu (300 m), Manassery (800 m) and Saudi (800 m).
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