Coastal Erosion

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 25, 2022, 6:17

The National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) has recently published a report under the Ministry of Earth Science according to which one-third of India's coastline has undergone erosion in the last 28 years. The report said up to 32% of India's coastline got eroded, of which 27% happened between 1990 and 2018.

The coastline of India is about 6630 km long and is bordered by the Indian Ocean in the south, the Bay of Bengal in the east, and the Arabian Sea in the west. Approximately 2700 km of the coastline is stable, while 2100 km is subject to effects of erosion, and 1760 km expanded during the period.

The country's eastern Coastal Erosion is more than the west coast because the Bay of Bengal gets heavy rainfall keeping the oceans rough throughout the year. Moreover, this area has seen more frequent cyclones in the last three decades. Read on to know more about Coastal Erosion in India.

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Coastal Erosion in India

Coastal Erosion in India refers to changes in the coastal region due to wave currents, loud winds, tidal currents, wave action, and other factors. Coastline and beaches in India are useful, from supporting recreational activities to serving needs like residential and commercial properties and seaports for maritime commerce.

The land wears out, and the beach sediments get destroyed due to natural, as well as man-made activities. Development along the shoreline keeps increasing, resulting in a constant erosion threat to the peninsular region of India.

As the developmental activities are carried out without a proper understanding of the coastal dynamics, there is often long-term or even permanent damage to the region. The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change suggests that 40 percent of the coastline of India is prone to low to high risk of erosion.

The ministry monitors the changes in the shoreline along the coast of India; it reports Goa to have the highest percentage of stable coastline while up to 90% of the coastline of Andaman and Nicobar Island is known to be eroded by the Bay of Bengal.

Wave energy is the primary factor contributing to Coastal Erosion. Natural calamities like tsunamis, cyclones, storms, and other hazards resulting from climate change disturb the rhythm and lead to wearing out of the land.

Strong drifts that result in the movement of sand are also a big reason for Coastal Erosion. Coral mining, sand mining, dredging, dam construction, and fishing harbours have also led to erosion on the shoreline. Various initiatives are being taken to promote the management of coastal areas in India to benefit the communities and preserve nature.

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FAQs on Coastal Erosion

Q.1. What human activities lead to Coastal Erosion?

Building reservoirs like river dams for irrigation and power production, river mining, coal mining, and other activities can result in Coastal Erosion.

Q.2. Which part of India has seen the most Coastal Erosion?

The eastern coast facing the Bay of Bengal has seen the most Coastal Erosion, with West Bengal experiencing the highest erosion.

Q.3. What causes Coastal Erosion?

Wave energy and natural hazards such as tsunamis, thermal expansion of water, cyclones, and others are the main reasons for Coastal Erosion.

Q.4. What is the reason for Coastal Erosion in India?

The major reasons for Coastal Erosion in India are changes in the wave pattern, cyclones and depressions that bring heavy rains and make the waters along the coastline choppy, wave intensity, etc.