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State looks to set up sand dune parks

Panaji:The Goa State Biodiversity Board on Wednesday decided to recommend to the government to set up India’s first sand dune parks at the protected turtle nesting sites of Mandrem, Morjim, Agonda and Galgibaga.The decision was taken at the 27th board meeting of the GSBB held on Wednesday.The meeting, which was chaired by Environment and Forest Minister Rajendra Arlekar, decided to send a proposal recommending to the government to carry out a feasibility study as well as identify more beach stretches for sand dune parks.
Sand dunes are significantly natural protective depositional landform, and a very good hurdle that protects inland environment from damaging sea waves, surges, tsunamis and storms.Also, the sand dunes reduce wind velocity.It must be noted here that the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority at its 127th meeting held in April this year had given its approval for setting up of such parks asking the government to notify these beach stretches as sand dune parks.A board official said that at the Wednesday’s meeting board members deliberated on a proposal submitted by expert member and former NIO scientist Dr Antonio Mascarenhas on notifying beach stretches of Mandrem, Morjim, Agonda and Galgibaga as sand dune parks.
The board members unanimously agreed to recommend to the government setting up of such parks as a long-term sustainable option to maintain biodiversity of coastal flora.The members, who were apprised of long-term benefits of the parks, were also informed that establishment of such coastal ecosystems would also put Goa in the forefront of conservation of degraded sand dunes. It was noted at the meeting that an effort on conservation of natural coastal ecosystems has never been thought of, not only in Goa but in the country in general.
This move on sand dune parks would be the first ever effort towards showcasing sand dune systems.The beach stretches – Mandrem and Morjim in North Goa and Agonda and Galgibaga in South Goa – have been designated as turtle nesting sites and are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. As developmental activities in the turtle breeding areas are prohibited these beach stretches would be ideal for restoration, conservation and management initiatives of sand dunes. [NT]

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