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Satellite imagery may be used to detect coastal zone violations

For the first time,environmental violations along the coast may be tracked via satellite imagery....

For the first time,environmental violations along the coast may be tracked via satellite imagery.

In a move which is likely to check the development of industries along the country’s coast,the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is overturning the existing Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) draft notification,2008,to improve monitoring of coastal zone violations.

With this,the Centre is trying to protect the livelihood and residence of fishermen living within the Coastal Regulation Zone.

The MoEF on Friday accepted the report of an expert committee which had been commissioned to review coastal management. The main problem fishermen and environmentalists had with CMZ 2008 was that it allowed site-specific plans on the sea-front,leaving a window open for industries to come up along coastal zones.

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One of the key recommendations of the committee is safeguarding the traditional rights of fishermen as well as ensuring satellite monitoring for checking violations. The Ministry now plans to work upward from the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 1991 which suggests a broad ‘set-back’ line of 500 metres from the coast as a no-development zone. The MoEF is also setting up a National Coastal Management Zone,co-chaired by the Minister for Environment and the Minister for Earth Sciences,and a National Institute for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management.

“The rights of fishermen are central. We have found that there are close to one crore fishermen dependant on the shoreline. We also need to look at violations on the coastline. Following the Goa example,we want to track the coastline,especially vulnerable areas,through satellite imagery. Under the same systems,violations should be immediately made public,” said Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Friday.

Following a Court directive,the Goa government had identified 4,553 structures that had come up in violation of the CRZ post-1991 in the 200-500-metre zone and another 2,272 structures that have been built post-1991 in the restricted zone of 100 metres along rivers with tidal influence,through satellite imagery.

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The MoEF,in an official admission of the issues of climate change,also said on Friday that the threat of climate change needs to be factored in for coastal development projects. “We need to safeguard our coasts from climate change. We have to safeguard against tsunami-type disasters,” Ramesh said.

First published on: 18-07-2009 at 04:56:40 am
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