Amid growing environmental concerns due to massive exploitation of natural resources and unabated pollution, a team of researchers from Indian Institute of Technology Madras are working on a splendid idea to save a sinking island off the Tamil Nadu coast from last two years.

The researchers are helping reclaim Vaan Island, which is located 2 km off the Tuticorin coast. In 1986, the island had 16 hectares of land. It was reduced to meager 1.5 hectares of land in 2015. Concerned over the degradation, Tamil Nadu’s Environment Department had approached IIT Madras in 2014 to find a solution to protect it without using engineering structures. It was then the team of five decided to save the island by deploying artificial reef. The island has gained mass by 7.6 per cent — from 1.5284 hectares in December 2015 to 1.6454 hectares. Notedly, Vaan is one of 21 uninhabited islands in the Gulf of Mannar.

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Artificial reefs, made of concrete, have been found capable of preventing further erosion of ecologically sensitive islands . Over time natural corals get attached to artificial reefs and start regeneration. Vaan is one of the 21 islands in the Gulf of Mannar, which was declared a marine biodiversity park in 1986.

“The objective was to control the erosion of the island and to facilitate coral rehabilitation in surrounding areas. Coral mining was once rampant in this area, and that combined with rising sea levels have over the years harmed the island,” H Malleshappa, director, Environment Department, Tamil Nadu, told The Indian Express.

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Last month, during a meeting with top scientific officials, Prime Minister Narendra had said that applying science to solve the country’s problems is a priority for the government. He said and asked officials to come up with specific targets which could be achieved in the field of science by 2022, reported PTI.

Source: Indian Express


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