Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)Volume 1 Number 2 (2009)
Breaching of Coastal Dunes: An Issue of Management of the Coast to Safeguard the Coastal Communities of West Bengal, India
The 250 km long coastal zone of West Bengal facing the northeastern boundary of the Bay of Bengal is highly vulnerable because of multiple stresses exerted by both natural and artificial forcing. The discontinuously occurring, shore-parallel trains of foredune complex constitute a dynamic, resilient landform and offer the last line of defense against inland inundation from severe flooding due to lashing of high waves originated from cyclonic storms. Mining and transportation of dune sands, destruction of dune vegetation by trampling and grazing, breaching of dune tops for construction and open sea vistas are some major anthropogenic stresses imparted by the stakeholders and coastal communities. The effects of tourism, fishing by trawlers and ill-planned resource management often enhance the process of coastal degradation. Natural forcing of high waves from periodic cyclonic storms breaches the dune trains for some tens of meters and inundates inland areas leading to urgent requirement of rehabilitation of coastal communities. Natural degradation of dune also changes the areas of convergence and divergence of waves, particularly where the configuration of the coast is manipulated by the constructions. Regular monitoring of dune girdles together with fast repairing of their breached out portions is recommended as measures of management.
Keywords: Coastal dunes of West Bengal; Natural and artificial degradation of dunes; Management measures.