Large-scale erosion at Canacona beaches


 The coastline of Canacona, which stretches from Cabo de Rama in the north to Polem in the south, is known for some breathtaking beaches of Goa.
The coast of Canacona is dotted with 14 such beaches. In the CNN Travel World’s 50 best beaches, Patnem beach of Canacona ranks at number 20, and interestingly, this is the only beach in India, that features in the top 50 beaches of the world. 
The shore of Canacona is characterised by three different types of beaches – rocky, sandy and lateritic. Unfortunately, over the years various beaches in Canacona have fallen victim to large scale soil and sand erosion, caused both by nature and man.
Dr F M Nadaf, professor of geography at Shri Mallikarjun College of Arts and Commerce, Canacona, said that the natural soil and sand erosion is caused by the impact of waves and tidal currents, which are quite pronounced, especially during the monsoons. He said this leads to land loss at many places.
However, Dr Nadaf points to coastal tourism and says this is out to destroy the beaches in Canacona as destruction of sand dunes, coastal vegetation and mangroves has occurred in the name of tourism.
He said that though officially sand extraction and illegal sand mining have been banned, there are still many instances where such activities are taking place. He said such actions have further fuelled erosion of beaches in this taluka.
Dr Nadaf further said that sand dune dressing is another important threat to beaches of Canacona and said further that it is mainly carried out by the hotels and shack owners on the beach.
Due to pumping of water by using powerful pumps, there is threat of intrusion of saline water into the fresh water aquifer. This will lead to destruction of coastal ecology, he added. He said that in this age of sea water level rise and global warming, there is an urgent need for coastal zone management, so that the beaches of the state can be saved.
He said some of the steps like protecting coastal vegetation like sand binders, planting more and more mangroves, erecting wave breakers, constructing geo-tubes, regulation of shacks on beaches and allowing no shacks and no development in CRZ – I, can help in the conservation of beaches in the taluka.
He is also of the opinion that new development and housing projects along the coast should be restricted and that strict implementation of CRZ norms should be ensured, so that there is hope of saving the beaches for posterity. [NT]