Coastal sand mining, whether legal or illegal, is a significant threat to the environment as it leads to various environmental issues such as erosion, loss of biodiversity, and disruption of ecosystems. Here’s an analysis of the impact of sand mining along the Indian coasts:
- Destruction of beaches: Sand mining causes severe damage to beaches, which are vital ecosystems that provide habitat for marine species, protect the shoreline from erosion, and offer recreational opportunities to people. Mining activities strip beaches of sand, leading to erosion and destabilization of the coastline.
- Coastal erosion: Sand mining results in the reduction of sediment availability, which can lead to coastal erosion. Coastal erosion, in turn, leads to the loss of land, destruction of infrastructure, and displacement of coastal communities.
- Damage to marine ecosystems: Sand mining causes significant harm to marine ecosystems by disturbing habitats, reducing food availability, and increasing water turbidity. It also affects the breeding and nesting of sea turtles and other marine species.
- Illegal sand mining: Illegal sand mining is rampant in many parts of India, leading to uncontrolled and unregulated extraction of sand. This often results in the degradation of river systems and floodplains, leading to erosion and the destruction of aquatic ecosystems.
- Examples of impact: In Tamil Nadu, excessive sand mining led to the disappearance of the Kadalur Point Lighthouse, and in Kerala, the removal of sand from the Vembanad Lake caused the lake to shrink in size. Furthermore, sand mining has led to the displacement of fishing communities and has severely impacted the livelihoods of coastal communities.
In conclusion, the impact of sand mining along the Indian coasts is significant, and the consequences are severe. Urgent action is needed to regulate sand mining activities and to implement measures to protect the fragile coastal ecosystems.