Sustainable management of coastal and marine resources is essential to our state’s economic growth. Odisha‘s coastal zone is endowed with a wide range of mangroves, sea grasses, salt marshes, sand dunes, estuaries, lagoons, and a unique marine and coastal flora and fauna. The abundant coastal and offshore marine ecosystems include some 1435 sqkm of mangroves forest in Bhitarkanika with more than 82 species, which are among the largest mangroves in the world. There are major stocks of fish, marine mammals, reptiles and Olive Ridley turtles, sea grass meadows, and abundant sea weeds. Thirty-five per cent of the coastal stretch is laden with substantial placer mineral and heavy metal deposits. Offshore wind, tidal, wave and future ocean thermal energy potential is huge. Cultural and archaeological sites, some with national and international significance dot the coasts. Coastal fishing employs a large number of people fulltime, and the post-harvest fisheries sector employs many people in the coastal villages.
Despite their ecological richness and the contribution to national economy, the coastal and marine areas have not received adequate protection, and are under stress. Rapid urban-industrialization, maritime transport, marine fishing, tourism, coastal and sea bed mining, offshore oil and natural gas production and aquaculture have led to a significant increase in demand for infrastructure, resulting in the overexploitation of natural resources. Such rapid depletion and degradation, unless arrested, will impact the livelihood, health and well being of the coastal population; affecting in turn prospects for India‘s sustained economic growth.
Not only this, Odisha coast is subject to severe weather events, such as cyclones and super-cyclones inflicting great loss of lives and property, especially among the rural coastal communities that always had low resilience to extreme weather variability, mostly due to impoverishment. In recent years, accelerated erosion of coastal land has affected coastal agriculture and built habitats. The returns from traditional fishing are also diminishing due to environmental degradation and over-exploitation. Climate change aggravates the risks to coastal communities and infrastructure. Studies already reveal a significant rise in sea level, increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and changes in mean climate variables.
In this context Ministry of Forest & Environment, Government of India, The World Bank and Government of Odisha has come forward with an integrated approach to coordinate activities of various government agencies & departments for the sustainable management and usages of coastal resources maintaining the natural environment.
The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project on pilot basis will be implemented in three states – Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal. In our state the project on pilot basis will be implemented in two coastal stretches – Paradeep to Dhamra and Gopalpur to Chilika. The financial outlay of the project is 227.64 crores, our state government is also contributing 10% of the total financial outlay. The major issues in our coastal region are - Coastal Erosion and Associated Oceanographic Processes, Vulnerability to Disaster, Biodiversity Conservation, Livelihood Security, Pollution/ Environmental Quality Management, Conservation of Cultural/ Archaeological Assets. Looking at these issues our project implementing agencies
The project aim : Coordination of activities of various stakeholders in an integrated approach for the sustainable usages of the coastal natural resources maintaining the natural environment.
A. Formulation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan for the State
B. Coastal Erosion and Associated Oceanographic Processes
C. Vulnerability to Disaster
D. Biodiversity Conservation
E. Livelihood Security
F. Pollution/ Environmental Quality Management
G. Improvement and Conservation of Cultural/ Archaeological Assets