On the occasion of World Environment Day on Saturday, marine experts warned that the coastal areas of Kerala will witness an increasing trend of storm surge in the coming years due to the rise in sea surface temperature.
To combat this, the experts called for restoration of coastal vegetation, putting special emphasis on mangrove forestation, which, according to them, will act as a bio-shield to the coastal belt in protecting the lives of its people.
The views were expressed during a webinar organised by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) here, as part of the programmes being held to observe World Environment Day.
It was highlighted in the webinar that the entire Kerala coast recently witnessed ‘storm surge’ during the two cyclones ‘Tauktae’ and ‘Yaas’.
The experts working on mangroves said that the frequency of such storm surges in the coastal belt is likely to increasingly in the coming years with the rapid warming of the waters in the Indian Ocean.
Alarming winds caused by the cyclones help form storm surge in the waters, which results in high waves, sea erosion and flooding in the coastal hamlets.
CMFRI Director A. Gopalakrishnan pointed out that Kerala’s coastal region could be protected from the wrath of the sea to a great extent through restoration of mangroves and other biodiversity works in the region.
“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 the coastal people from sea turbulence.
“Mangroves act as a model bio-shield to the coastal stretch. A recent study based on the observations in the coastal region of Mumbai revealed that mangroves protect coastal wave actions and severe surges. There are lots of ideal areas along the coastal stretch in Kerala which can be conserved for mangrove forestation,” Gopalakrishnan said.