Experts, locals seek special ecological status for Goa

Goa is seismically susceptible and has hydrography that is vulnerable to small swings in the courses of the various rivers flowing into the state. Goa is also witnessing deposits of marine fossils due to a drop in sea levels. Locals and experts want it to be given special ecological status

Apart from being seismically susceptible, Goa, a major tourist destination, is also categorised by a peculiar hydrography which is making it vulnerable to small swings in the courses of the rivers flowing into the state. Goa’s emergent parts are witnessing deposits of marine fossils due to a fall in sea levels. Experts and local residents now want the state to get special ecological status.

In a letter to Jairam Ramesh, the Union minister of state for environment and forests, Nandkumar Kamat, assistant professor at the department of botany in Goa University has said, ”A single major ecological catastrophe may tilt the balance and finish what remains. On several accounts, Goa can be given a special ecological status.”

Following a public hearing on the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) at Verna in Goa attended by the minister, Mr Kamat had sent a letter to Mr Ramesh giving reasons for granting the special ecological status to the state.

“The landmass has undergone three major folds and violent tectonic changes. The west coast fault runs close to Goa,” Mr Kamat has mentioned in his letter.

He has also said that the state is crisscrossed by six geological faults due to the geodynamic activities that have resulted in Goa’s beautiful landscape. However, this phenomenon also makes the state geologically exposed to seismic activity.

According to Mr Kamat, tectonic influences are exhibited on the courses along the western rivers flowing into the state and not a single major river flowing through Goa has its source within the state. So being a lower riparian state, Goa is extremely vulnerable to interstate water disputes.
“(There is) the possibility of the process being reversed by global warming and sea levels rising because Goa’s landmass is a mosaic of submerged and emergent parts,” Mr Kamat has said.

The emergent parts indicate deposits of marine fossils, due to a fall in sea levels by four to six metres over the past 6,000-8,000 years. Marine fossil beds are located near Mapusa River, Chapora River, and beaches like Chicalim, Siridao and Bambolim, Mr Kamat has said. A major part of coastal Goa is at (or below) sea level and is also densely populated.
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) had in a report said that about 5% of Goa’s land mass would be submerged in this century, making Goa the most vulnerable state in India in terms of the impact of global warming and subsequent land cover loss.

Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.



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