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DATA STORY : Coastal Erosion

  • Published
    29th Apr, 2022

Coastal erosion is the wearing away of land and removal of beach sediments by high winds, drainage, wave action, wave currents, and tidal currents. Coastal morph dynamics studies the erosion and sediment redistribution in coastal areas. It is caused by corrosion, hydraulic action or abrasion.

Coastal erosion can be either a rapid-onset hazard (occurs very quickly, a period of days to weeks) or a slow-onset hazard (occurring over many years, or decades to centuries). The beaches and shorelines in India serve multidimensional needs such as seaports for maritime commerce, space for residential & commercial structures, recreational purposes, etc.

Developmental activities along the coastline have increased and the trend is expected to continue in the decades to come.  Similar to any other maritime country, India’s long peninsular region constantly battles erosion. The developmental activities are often carried out without a clear understanding of the coastal dynamics. This leads to long-term, in the worst cases, permanent damage, particularly to the local communities.

According to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) 40% of India’s coastline is subjected to high, medium, or low coastal erosion.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences which monitors shoreline changes along the Indian coast states that about 89% of the shoreline of Andaman and Nicobar Island is eroded by the Bay of Bengal. Goa has the highest percentage of stable shoreline.

A study report published in scientific journal Nature Climate Change says that Climate change poses an existential threat to the world's sandy beaches and that as many as half of them could disappear by the end of the century. It states that even by 2050 some coastlines could be unrecognizable from what we see today, with 14% to 15% facing severe erosion.

This data story aims to highlight the extent of coastal erosion in India.

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