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UPSC Mains 2022

Explain the causes and effects of coastal erosion in India. What are the available coastal management techniques for combating the hazard?

General Studies Paper - 3, Topic: Coastal Management

Jan 03, 2023

3 min read

Coastal erosion is the wearing away of the land along the coast by the action of wind, waves, and tides. It is a natural process that occurs over time, but it can be exacerbated by human activities such as the construction of sea walls, the extraction of sand from beaches, and the alteration of natural shoreline features.


In India, coastal erosion is a major concern due to the country's long coastline and the high population density in many coastal areas. Some of the main causes of coastal erosion in India include:




1. Sea level rise: Global warming is causing sea levels to rise, which can lead to more frequent and severe erosion along the coast.


2. Unsustainable development: The construction of sea walls and other coastal structures can disrupt the natural flow of sand along the shore and lead to erosion.


3. Overcrowding: The high population density in many coastal areas of India leads to the overuse of natural resources and the alteration of natural shoreline features, which can contribute to erosion.


The effects of coastal erosion in India can be severe, including the loss of valuable coastal land, the destruction of infrastructure and homes, and the displacement of communities. It can also have negative impacts on the environment, such as the loss of habitat for wildlife and the degradation of water quality.


To combat the hazard of coastal erosion, several techniques are available, including:


1. Beach nourishment: This involves the addition of sand to the beach to restore its natural slope and protect against erosion.


2. Groins and breakwaters: These are structures that are built perpendicular to the shore to trap sand and protect against erosion.


3. Soft shore protection: This involves the use of natural materials such as vegetation or sand-filled bags to protect against erosion.


4. Coastal zoning: This involves the careful planning of development along the coast to minimize the impact on natural shoreline processes.


One example of coastal management techniques being used in India is the creation of the Chennai Coastal Zone Management Plan, which aims to reduce the impact of development on the coast and protect against erosion. The plan includes measures such as the creation of buffer zones along the coast, the regulation of development in vulnerable areas, and the implementation of best practices for coastal construction.

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