The Death of India’s Beaches – NDTV Report

On 28 May 2009, NDTV aired a report on “The Death of India’s Beaches”, featuring an interview with PondyCAN’s president, Probir Banerjee.

To view the video on the NDTV site, click here. The text of the report is given below.

NDTV plans a weekly broadcast with reports from each state to examine the effect of ports and rock walls on the coastline and economy of the states.  The next report will be on Orissa.

If you appreciate this kind of reporting, please contact NDTV and let them know.  Also, please let them know of situations and contact information for people working on coastal issues in other states.

The death of India’s beaches

NDTV Correspondent, Thursday May 28, 2009, Chennai

Over the span of a few decades, India has lost almost half its beaches along its once beautiful coastline.  And in a few years from now, India won’t have a single beach left.  We are losing our beaches every second because of simple man made errors.  It’s not too late – many miles of beaches can still be saved but the government is doing nothing. In fact most state governments are making things worse.

It’s known around the world as the murder of India’s beaches. Even though it’s not clear to the naked eye, beaches are constantly moving, the sand moves up the coast line pushed by the winds and the waves especially during the monsoon.

Now when a port is built, it breaks this natural movement of sand.  As a result sand piles up south of the port.  But north of the beach the sand gets eroded as it moves further north.  If it goes on there will only be rocks, not beaches left.

That is why marina beach in Chennai has so much sand – but if one goes north of the port, the beaches are gone, lost.  They are destroyed.

In other parts of the world, it is mandatory for all ports to dredge sand from one side and place it on the other side, but not in India.

Instead in India the government gives lucrative contracts to businessmen to fill the eroded beaches with rocks and build walls of rocks.  India is building so many miles of rock walls where beaches used to be, that may be 20 or more years from now our entire coastline will be one long rock wall – longer than the great wall of China.

What’s killing the beaches even faster is the number of ports India is building.  Instead of 5 or 6 big modern profitable ports, India is commissioning a small new port every few months; most are loss making and cannot afford to dredge the sand.

There is another devastating effect of the death of our beaches.  The sand on beaches acts as a filter and stops the salt in sea water from going inland.  The problem with rocks is that they can’t act as a filter.  So wherever the eroded beaches are replaced by rocks and rock walls, more and more villages on our coastline have discovered that the underground water in their area has become saline, which in turn means that their crops and livelihoods are dying.

India used to be famous for its ‘necklace’ of beaches unless something is done fast. There will be no beaches but India will be famous for another kind of necklace, a necklace of rocks.


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6 responses to “The Death of India’s Beaches – NDTV Report

  1. Pingback: “Coastal Chennai Losing Homes to Sea” – NDTV Report « Save Our Beach

  2. Pingback: Online Petition and SMS Campaign to Save India’s Beaches « Save Our Beach

  3. Pingback: India’s Dying Beaches « Essere

  4. shibu varghese

    This is to bring your attention towards A&N islands reg the death of coral reef caused coz of the adiministration’s neglegence. the coral reef is destroyed due to indiscriminate quarrying in this area which has destroyed naturally grown forest.the top soil which flows into the sea along with water settles in the sea bed and on corals eventually kills it. the burning ghat of municipal dump is on the sea shore they waste also flows into the sea killing the corals and the colour of the sand has also changed, if any team is visiting port blair i can give all logistics support.

    shibu varghese

  5. shibu varghese

    Destruction of coral reef in carbyncove beach port blair

    The coral reef in the southern side of carbyns cove beach vanished not coz of climate changes its because of the destruction of the naturally grown rain forest. The whole quarry belt from MES quarry to the brichgunj contonment was rain forest,
    .The soil is dug out from the hilly area for quarrying purpose , during rains because of no plants to protect erosion the soil flows along with water logging the drains taking more soil along with it eventually gets into the sea. Six to seven months of incessant rain leads to the accumulation of soil on the coral reef and the sea bed which is causing serious damage to marine life and coral which takes millions of years to form which has a cycle effect on the marine life cycle. moreover the burnt waste of the bruning ghat of the municpal dump yard is also a serious threat as the same flows into the sea with water. even the colour of the sand has changed.

    it was also learnt one inch of top soil formation takes around 150 to 200 years. the whole area the top soil has already been removed as a result desertification process has already started. The same can be viewed using google earth’s latest photographs.

    the dust from the crushers settles on the trees and when it rains gets collected and decayes the crown of coconut and arecanut trees which inturn kills the tree.

    shibu varghese

  6. shibu varghese


    The Chief Secretary,
    Chairman Quarry Committee,
    A & N Administration,
    Port Blair.

    Sub; Shifting/closure of nine crushers at Prothrapur village residential
    area;- reg.

    Respected Sir,

    We the residents of Prothrapur village who are victims of dust and noise pollution from nine crushing plants owned by-

    a) Shri. Manickam & Sons.
    b) Shri Ramar ( ARM)
    c) Shri.Karuppiah (KVST)
    d) Shri.Guruswamy.
    e) Shri Chellian.
    f) Smti.Sebastiammal
    g) Smti.Uma Devi
    h) Smti V. Amuda.
    i) shri vellakannu
    We have made numerous representations for shifting/closure of the above crushing plants to an isolated area as we are facing inconvenience / serious health hazards. But it appears that in spite of our repeated request no action seems to be taken till date, in this regard.

    In the mean time it has come to our notice that out of the nine crushing plants detailed above 4 crushing units namely Shri Guruswamy, Shri Chellian, Smti. Amudha, and Smti Uma Devi have been favored with by issuing NOC from pollution control board. The irony is that all crushing units have been continuing their operations. We, therefore demand, an enquiry may be ordered to find out the circumstances under which the above four has been issued NOC from the pollution control committee.

    We would like to highlight some of the major Govt. / private institutions other than the Residents falling within 500 to 1000 meters radius are:

    1. District Jail
    2. A&N State Co-operative Bank.
    3. Secondary School Prothrapur.
    4. Mariamman Temple.
    5. C.N.I church.
    6. Andaman Bottling Co. Pvt. Ltd.
    7. 5 Hotels, (3 functioning and 2 under construction)
    8. Newly constructed Police Training Academy.

    We would like to also bring to your notice that, the entire area is so polluted, dust and fine particles of stone has become our staple diet in our every day meal.

    We have no other alternative ,except to approach your Excellency to intervene in this matter immediately as the licensing authority have failed in all respect, to save the lives of people, flora and fauna. Our basic fundamental right of living may be protected.

    Early action may be taken in the public interest and in the interest of justice.

    Thanking you sir,
    Yours Faithfully

    This letter was signed by 50 residents staying around these crushers, no action seems to be initiated by the administration.

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