Expert Panel on Submerging Islands

In a recent development, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken a significant step towards addressing the threats posed by sea-level rise and the submergence of low-lying lands by forming an expert panel.

This topic of “Expert Panel on Submerging Islands” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

News: NGT’s Decision and Expert Panel Formation

The NGT has issued notices to the Coastal Zone Management Authorities (CZMAs) of coastal states and union territories, with the aim of incorporating the expert panel’s recommendations into the Integrated Island Management Plans.

What is the Expert Panel?

The expert panel’s primary focus lies in comprehensively assessing the dangers posed by sea-level rise and the submergence of low-lying lands, especially on India’s vulnerable islands.

Highlights: Expert Panel Recommendations

The recommendations put forth by the expert panel encompass a wide range of measures aimed at addressing the challenges posed by sea-level rise and ensuring the sustainable development and protection of coastal areas. These include:

  1. Island-Specific Sustainable Development and Tourism Policy
    • Emphasizing consideration of climate risks.
  2. Diversified Economic Development
    • Promoting nature-based growth and blue-economy activities on marine and coastal fronts.
  3. Alternative Climate-Resilient Practices for Island Livelihoods
    • Advocating for the exploration of nature-based ecosystem restoration.
  4. Installation of GPS/GNSS Stations
    • For estimating vertical land motion (VLM) and quantifying future sea-level rise over Andaman and Lakshadweep islands.
  5. Protection Actions for Coral Reefs
    • With a focus on monitoring during coral bleaching events.
  6. Monitoring Shoreline Change Rates
    • Aiming to identify hotspot zones vulnerable to erosion.
  7. Construction of Coastal Structures
    • Intended to protect highly eroded shoreline zones.
  8. Nationwide Island Assessment
    • To gain a better understanding of the accurate vulnerability of coastal areas through field-based topographic surveys.

Why These Recommendations Are Essential

Current Challenges

The urgency of these recommendations stems from various ongoing challenges, including the vulnerability of 1,382 of India’s islands to sea-level rise, unseasonal cyclonic storms, sea erosion, and new development projects.

Research Findings

Research has shown that all Lakshadweep islands are vulnerable to sea-level rise, with projections indicating inundation along larger coastline areas under all emission scenarios.

Who Makes Up the Expert Panel

Panel Formation

The expert panel was formed by the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal.

Key Members

The panel comprises esteemed institutions and organizations with expertise in oceanography, coastal management, geoinformatics, and technology. Key members include:

  1. CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).
  2. National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Chennai.
  3. National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai.
  4. National Institute for Geo-informatics Science & Technology.
  5. Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, Hyderabad.
  6. IIT, Kharagpur.

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