'Centre mulls setting up National Coastal Mission'

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar. (PTI Photo)

The Centre on Friday informed the Lok Sabha that it is contemplating setting up a National Coastal Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) to address the impact of climate change on coastal and marine ecosystems.

Responding to questions in Lok Sabha, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said through the mission, the government aims to protect shorelines and communities in coastal areas against extreme weather conditions.

"The Government has envisaged establishing a National Coastal Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change.

"The Mission aims to address the impact of climate change on coastal and marine ecosystems, infrastructure and communities in coastal areas through a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures," the minister said.

Some of these measures include strengthening natural shields against extreme weather conditions to protect shorelines, adaptation, improved employment generation opportunities for coastal communities to reduce pressure on coastal and marine ecosystems and enhancing the productivity of coastal and marine ecosystems in a sustainable manner.

NAPCC is a comprehensive action plan which outlines measures on climate change-related adaptation and mitigation while simultaneously advancing development.

The government had launched Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project in 2010 to conserve, protect and manage coastal and marine ecosystems, pollution abatement and livelihood security of the coastal communities with the assistance of the World Bank, Lok Sabha was told.

"The total expenditure under this project has been about Rs 1,400 crore so far. This project has been implemented in identified coastal stretches in Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal.

"Under this project, activities related to conservation of the coastal ecosystems such as mangrove plantation, shelter-belt plantation, coral transplantation, enhancement of livelihood security of the coastal communities, pollution abatement in coastal areas, capacity building, etc have been undertaken," Javadekar said in his written response.

Responding to another question on whether the sea level in Mumbai was rising due to global warming, the minister, citing a Ministry of Earth Sciences' study, said the rate of change of sea level off Mumbai is 0.74 mm per year between 1878-2005.

"Impacts due to rise in sea level include, inter alia, increased beach erosion, saltwater intrusion into groundwater, adverse impact on marine and coastal biodiversity, flooding of coastal habitats," he said.

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