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Experts: Coastal danger in Ratnagiri,Raigad,Sindhudurg

They pointed out in particular the threat to marine biodiversity from a string of proposed projects,particularly in Ratnagiri,Raigad and Sindhudurg districts.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
October 11, 2012 2:17:17 am

Unbridled development that leads to mushrooming of projects such as power plants is threatening marine and coastal biodiversity,including along the Maharashtra coast and this needs the urgent attention of the government,said experts attending the 11th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP CBD 11) in Hyderabad.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS),Greenpeace India and several other NGOs working for the environment said on the sidelines of the meet that the government must address the issue and ensure development takes place in a rational manner.

They pointed out in particular the threat to marine biodiversity from a string of proposed projects,particularly in Ratnagiri,Raigad and Sindhudurg districts.

“In a small 150-km stretch covering Ratnagiri,Raigad and Sindhudurg districts,15 power plants,gas-based,thermal and nuclear,for 25 gigawatts have been proposed. Of these,11 are in Ratnagiri alone,” said Dr Deepak Apte,marine biologist and BNHS deputy director.

Power plants lead to thermal stress and affects many marine species destroying livelihood of traditional fishermen,experts pointed out.

“Power plants release water around seven degrees higher than the sea temperature. Over a long period of time,say 80 years,the massive volume released into sea can change the temperature,” said Apte.

“This may cause emigration of marine species that do not like hot conditions and immigration of those that prefer them. Thus,traditional fishers will be affected as the species that come in may not be economically viable,” he said.

Also,marine species that do not have tolerance to large changes in temperatures will be affected.

The problem with the proposed plants,especially in Maharashtra,is their sheer number.

“The effect from one plant can be diluted but in Maharashtra it will be like one power plant every 20 kilometres. The cumulative thermal stress will be very high,” said Apte.

Also,thermal pollution has not been taken into account as a possible hazard of power plants in environmental impact studies,experts said.

“During their assessment,the government considered displacement due to power plants and health hazards but not thermal pollution,which is also a major influencing factor.”

Green activists have urged the government during the CBD COP 11,to talk about issues of sustainability and take steps to limit unbridled development.

“Power is very important,but the government must consider its environmental cost as well and engage in rational development,” said Apte.

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