Greenpeace addresses India’s marine hot spots

After blowing the lid off the continuing toxic contamination in Bhopal and the hazards of ship-breaking at Alang, Gujarat, international environment watchdog Greenpeace is now investigating the ‘marine hot spots’ in India.

Stating that marine ecology was a little studied area in India, Greenpeace Executive Director, India, G Ananthapadmanabhan told UNI here that the Greepeace report, which will cover all the coastal states, would be out sometime this year.

“The coastal areas of India desperately need a network of protected areas, especially in view of a massive colonisation of the oceans that is underway with transnational fishing corporations moving to fresh areas after depleting the catch in their earlier areas of operation,” he said.

“However, we in India are not paying enough attention to this.

The Greenpeace report is aimed at sounding the alarm bell for the Indian policy makers,” Mr Ananthapadmanabhan added.

The report will throw spotlight on the bio-diversity of the Indian ocean areas and identify steps to preserve them. “It is going to be an in-depth study of the marine bio-diversity hot spots,” he said.

Giving an instance of the kind of issues to be taken up in the report, he cited the Damra Port being promoted by the Tatas on the Orissa coast, close to one of the largest nesting grounds of the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles.

“This is a sacrilege. It is almost like building a huge airport next to the Taj Mahal. This is one of the most critical wildlife habitats and a port so close to it will spell doom for the Olive Ridley Turtles,” he added.

Greenpeace, which over the years has taken up sustained campaigns in India on a variety of issues, ranging from the clean-up of the toxic mess left behind the Union Carbide in Bhopal to the hazards of the ship-breaking industry at Alang, has now taken upon itself the task of promoting renewable energy sources in the country, Mr Ananthapadmanabhan, a qualified engineer from IIT-Madras, said.