By G Saravanan
Published : 10 Sep 2009
Truckloads of debris have been dumped on the Foreshore Estate beach, in gross violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 1991, to create a full-fledged parking bay on the sands for private buses, which threatens to not only jeopardise the livelihood of the fishermen in Dooming Kuppam but also result in an ecological disaster.
A visit to the beach revealed that debris from demolished buildings has not only been dumped indiscriminately on the sands but also levelled up well up to the sea front to develop a hard surface for parking omni buses, used mostly by IT multinationals. Many of the buses leave oil and lubricant spills on the environmentally sensitive area.
According to a local fisherman from Dooming Kuppam, the dumping of debris has made the beach unusable for fishing activities. Shore-seine nets, which are dragged from the shore seasonally, rely on the availability of large areas of sandy beach spaces and the dumping of building waste would hurt their livelihood badly, the fisherman said.
Expressing deep anguish over the debris dumping inside the sandy area, Nityanand Jayaraman, researcher and environmental activist, said: “The beach area where debris were dumped is very much the intertidal zone (also known as the foreshore and sometimes referred to as the littoral zone).”
Besides the obvious deleterious impact on coastal ecology and coastal hydrology and erosion patterns, such developments on CRZ’s ‘no development zone’ are merely a prelude to grander plans for violations, including the planned construction of an elevated expressway along the beach, Nityanand lamented.
The blatant violation has been brought to the notice of Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh.
However, members of the State Coastal Zone Management Authority, the District Coastal Zone Management Committee (DCZMC) and the Department of Environment have, on multiple occasions in the past, expressed their inability to take action against violators of the CRZ notification, he added.
While no one from the DCZMC and the Department of Environment were available for comment, a zonal level official from the Chennai Corporation, which is responsible for the maintaining the beach, said the agency would remove the debris, if they found it to be a violation of CRZ.