Rising sea level threatens India's coastal areas
The emerald backwater stretches in Kerala and Mumbai are among several locales on the western and eastern coasts facing threat from the rising sea level effected by climate change.
According to a government report, deltas of the Ganga, Krishna, Godavari, Cauvery and Mahanadi on the east coast may also be affected along with irrigated land and adjoining settlements.
“It is estimated that sea level will rise by 3.5 to 34.6 inches between 1990 and 2100 and it would result in saline coastal groundwater, endangering wetlands and inundating valuable land and coastal communities. The most vulnerable stretches along the western Indian coast are Khambat and Kutch in Gujarat, Mumbai and parts of the Konkan coast and south Kerala,” says the report submitted to the UN.
The experts who prepared the report visited some of the vulnerable areas, including the 2004 tsunami-hit Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, backwaters surrounding Kochi in Kerala and Paradip in Odisha, in order to make a detailed impact study of the rise in sea level.
The study, using digital elevation model data (90 m resolution), digital image processing and GIS software, showed that the rise in sea level by 1.0 m and 2.0 m will result in the inundation of an estimated 4.2 sq km and 42.5 sq km land respectively in the region surrounding Nagapattinam.
“But for the same sea level conditions, 169 sq km and 599 sq km will be inundated in the coastal region surrounding Kochi,” it said.