Visakhapatnam coast is going through rapid erosion

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Visakhapatnam beachNew Delhi: The Visakhapatnam coast is facing erosion since beginning specially Ramakrishna Beach and submarine Museum region due to lack of sand supply from southern side. About 50-55 meters of the beach has been lost near submarine Museum region during the period 1990- 2014.
Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Y.S.Chowdary gave this information in Rajya Sabha today. He said the intensity of erosion has increased rapidly in recent past and about 20 m of the beach has been lost in last 2 years. The Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) has been trying to control the erosion by regularly nourishing the Rama Krishna Beach with sand available in the sand trap at the outer harbour. In 2013 and 2014, the cyclones ‘Phailin’ and ‘Hudhud’ had further hastened erosion of the Rama Krishna Beach, and severely damaged the adjacent protection wall and road.

The Minister told the House that the Government of Andhra Pradesh has constituted a Committee earlier this year in February  to conduct a detailed study the reasons for the erosion of the beach at Vishakhapatnam and to take up short term and long term measures to ensure that there is a sustainable solution to this problem.

Shoreline changes or erosion is a natural phenomenon. This occurs throughout the coast with varying magnitude due to natural processes and man-made interventions. The seasonally changing winds during the southwest monsoon (June – September) and northeast monsoon (December – February), generate wind-waves from different directions towards the beaches. Along the East coast of India, littoral drift occurs in the northerly direction for 8-9 months in a year, with the wave approaching the coast from the South-west. There is a southerly littoral drift for 3 to 4 months due to north-east monsoon waves. This variation in the littoral drift results in instability of beach where man-made structures disrupt the free-sand movement. As the net littoral drift is towards the north along the coast, any man-made structure would lead to accretion of sand on the south of the structure and erosion on its northern side.

In an official statement issued today, it has been stated that beach erosion in India, is noticed the most where large scale transport of sand and disturbance of the sediments is caused due to human pressure and activities like construction of breakwaters,  and bulkheads. All this causes erosion on the down-drift side and accretion on the up-drift side. On an average, about 40% of Indian coastline is facing varying degree of erosion. From last 25 years data (1990-2014), it has been observed that about 25- 33% of Andhra Pradesh Shoreline is experiencing erosion of various magnitudes.

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