World Bank has approved India’s first sand dune park project proposed by the state of Goa. The Coastal Sand dune park would be developed on an estimated amount of rupees 3 crores. The amount sanctioned by the World Bank would be used to set up a coastal sand dune park, interpretation center, and education centers.Embed from Getty Images
The sand dune ecosystem of Goa has been heavily impacted due to tourism, construction of hotels, resorts, guesthouses, approach roads, etc. The serge in these constructions can be considered as a major reason behind the destruction of sand dune ecosystems in Goa.
Sand dunes or Coastal sand dunes are hills or ridges that are naturally formed by sands due to the aeolian action behind the beach region affected by tides. These natural Sand dunes are developed over many years when the windblown sand gets trapped by beach grass. The sand dunes later ac as a suitable ground for the beach grass to thrive.
The Indian law also mentions the sand dunes as Coastal Regulation Zones or CRZ. The law states that sand dunes play an important role in maintaining the integrity of the coast. The law also objects to the developmental activities along the sand dune areas.
The significance of sand dunes can be understood by the fact that these sand dunes can act as the first line of defense against natural calamities such as hurricanes, floodwater, high storms, tsunamis, and strong wind and tides.
The sand dunes also provide nesting habitat for coastal birds, turtles, and migratory birds. Sand dunes also act as a natural habitat for coastal plants such as psammophytes. These sand dunes also help in preventing coastal erosions.
The Sand dune ecosystems of Goa have been deteriorating at an alarming rate due to the boom in tourism in the state. Tourists and locals drive their vehicles on the beach, which contributes to the destruction of naturally formed sand dunes. Disposal of trash on the beach can also be considered as an important reason behind the depletion o Sand dunes.
The Sand dune project would be headed by Antonio Mascarenhas, a former scientist and ex-member of the National Institute of Oceanography(NIO) and the Goa State Biodiversity Board(GSBB).Embed from Getty Images
Beaches such as Morjim and Galgibaga beaches, also known for turtle nesting sites, would be the Sand dune park’s initial sites in Goa. The interpretation centers and educational centers would also be set up to educate locals and tourists on the significance of Sand dunes ecosystems. Nurseries for sand dune vegetation would also be set up along with the construction of walk-through bridges using natural materials to avoid the Sand dune ecosystems being walked over by tourists and locals in the region.