Coastal Issues Of Sagar Island Environmental Sciences Essay

Sagar Island, situated in the east seashore of India and one of the biggest deltaic Islands in Sundarban group. This Island is alone with its natural ecosystem and has a potency for going a premier eco-tourism finish. The natural and semisynthetic jobs affect the quality of environment and life of people in Sagar Island. This paper examines the terrible coastal issues of Sagar Island that include coastal eroding, menace to biodiversity, natural jeopardies, touristry and livelihood insecurity of local communities. It recommends acceptance of a direction scheme by implementing the Integrated Coastal Zone Management ( ICZM ) in order to extenuate these coastal issues and to guarantee sustainable development of the coastal environment of Sagar Island in Sundarban Biosphere Reserve.

Island seashores are alone and complex in their nature of formation, environmental scenes and composing of biodiversity. Coastal zones constitute the interface countries where the land meets the ocean, enfolding shoreline environments and coastal Waterss. [ 4 ] As a tropical state, Indian seashores are endowed with a broad scope of natural home grounds and some of them are progressively threatened non merely by natural grounds but besides due to developmental activities and apathetic attitudes of the people [ 11 ] . This paper deals with the coastal issues of Sagar Island, one of the estuarial islands of the Sundarban part. Sagar Island is in unstable place due to many natural and anthropogenetic grounds that include eroding and accumulation, cyclone, inundation, clime alteration, pollution, unequal substructure, etc. After analyzing the coastal issues of Sagar Island, this paper suggests direction scheme for the preservation and sustainable usage of coastal resources of Sagar Island on the footing of emerging coastal issues.

Study Area

Sagar Island is ( 210 31 ‘ 21 ” to 210 52’28 ” N lat. and 880 2 ‘ 17 ” Tocopherol long. ) is one of the largest estuarine island system at the meeting of River Hoogly, in Sundarbans in Bay of Bengal. It has really low lift. The cardinal portion of the Island is 2.22 to 2.23 metres and that of the peripheral part is 2.18 to 2.22 metres from average sea degree [ 5 ] . For this ground, during cyclones and tide rushs, the borders of the island are normally inundated [ 7 ] . The coastal zone of Sagar Island consists chiefly of mudflats / salt marshes/ Rhizophora mangles and flaxen beaches/ dunes. Sand content is greater on the western seashore, while silt predominates on the eastern side of the island [ 6 ] . The Island constitutes the western periphery of the Sundarban woods and is included in the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve. It is a big island with an country of about 282 spread over 43 small towns with a population of over 1,85,600 [ 3 ] . The literacy rate of this Island is approximately 80 % and about 70 % of the adult females are literate. Historical significance of Sagar Island dates back to 3000 BC as it is a holy topographic point of Hindus situated on the oral cavity of the river Hoogly ( Bhagirathi, Ganga ) falling into the Bay of Bengal.


Standard methodological analysiss were used to roll up a figure of different informations on the coastal issues of the survey country. These include: ( I ) site visits to Sagar Island in order to derive first manus apprehension of the nature of the site, its home grounds, coastal procedures and landscape features and their jobs ; ( two ) interaction with the local community in Sagar Island and meetings with the functionaries of relevant authorities sections working on different issues of the Island, and ( three ) analysis and reading of available environmental information on Sagar Island by seeking relevant databases and adept publications.

Coastal Environmental Issues of Sagar Island

Sagar Island faces terrible menaces from both natural and anthropogenetic grounds. The natural grounds include coastal eroding, breach of embankments, loss of land mass and biodiversity and lifting sea degrees etc. Besides these, the human intercessions besides have immense impacts on the vulnerable island ecosystem. Livelihood insecurity of local people, deficiency of substructure like power supply, environmental pollution caused by tourers and debasement caused by other the human activities that need immediate attending. The pressing issues of Sagar Island are discussed below to trap down the magnitude of the job.

Coastal Erosion

Sagar Island has been subjected to rapid eroding by natural procedures and to a small extent by anthropogenetic activities over a long period of clip. Surveies based on topographic maps and satellite imaginations reveal that approximately 29.8 km2 of the island has been eroded between 1967 and 1999 and the accreted country is merely 6.03 km2. Between 1996 and 1998, the country underwent eroding of 13.64 km2 while accumulation was 0.48 km2. From1998 to 1999, 3.26 km2 extra country was eroded with meager accumulation. Erosion from 1997 to 1999 was estimated at 0.74 km2/year. However, from 1996 to 1999, the eroding rate was calculated at 5.47 km2/year. The countries badly affected by eroding are the north-eastern, south-western and south-eastern faces of the island [ 6 ] . As a effect of coastal eroding, the clay flats/salt fens, sand beaches/dunes and Rhizophora mangles have been eroded well. Fig. – 1 shows the magnitude of costal eroding in Sagar Island.

Fig. – 1. Coastal eroding in Sagar Island.

Harmonizing to a survey, since 1860 about 71 km2, which is equal to one 4th of the island country, has been eroded [ 1 ] . Another survey reveals that between 1898 and 1995 the land loss through eroding was 3.88 km2. The uninterrupted diminution in the size of the island might besides be influenced by steady rise in sea degrees accompanied by subsistence of the lower delta plain [ 10 ] . Erosion and diminution in the size of the island is emerging as a large job for the dwellers of the island [ 2 ] . The population of the island in 1864 was 1,466 individuals i.e. , 5.2 persons/km2. However, as per 1991 nose count, the population was 1,49,222, while the 2001 nose count indicates that the population was 1,85,301 which is 914.6 persons/km2 [ 6 ] . This shows that there is a steady addition of population growing in the island, whereas the land country is eroded quickly. In really near future, the present population denseness will increase manifold with turning population and decrease of land country. This is expected to make a serious ecological instability in the otherwise delicate ecosystem of Sundarbans, unless some effectual coastal direction steps are taken up. Coastal eroding has direct consequence on the island population excessively.

( two ) Threats to Biodiversity

The biodiversity of the Sundarban Rhizophora mangle has been affected by human development of woods, their transition to paddy field and renewal of land for assorted utilizations [ 6 ] . Over development of lumber and transition of the Rhizophora mangle forest land for agribusiness and aquaculture intents have tremendously affected the coastal ecosystem. Numerous people are engaged in the commercial development of sundari and other tree species, while the local people depend on the woods for firewood, lumber for boats, poles for house-posts and balks, golpatta foliages for roofing, grass for entangling and fresh fish, reeds for fence, and angle for their ain ingestion. Honey and wax are collected during the summer season [ 9 ] . In the recent old ages, aggregation of runt juveniles has increased manifold, peculiarly for aquaculture in rescued countries [ 12 ] . It is estimated that upto 60 per centum of the shrimp post-larvae ( PL ) collected from nature dice during screening, transit and stocking. Although the ecological impacts of this activity are unsure because of this deficiency of elaborate information, the field visit by the writer to the aggregation countries revealed that the bycatch which is discarded and normally dies. Fig.- 2,3,4, show the existent aggregation runt juvenile, screening, disposal of other aquatic biodiversity. The shirimp agriculture is besides doing rapid impairment in the Sundarbans similar to that in other mangrove countries. Large-scale aggregation of runt from estuaries straight affects the other species of biodiversity that depend upon runt for nutrient. Attempts are being made, nevertheless, to rehabilitate certain debauched countries through afforestation programmes. Among the faunal species, the estuarine crocodile and the Olive Ridley polo-neck are having some attending by manner of confined genteelness.

Fig. 2. Collection of Shrimp juvenile

Fig. 3. Screening of runt juveniles. Fig. 4. Discarded aquatic biodiversity during the sorting of runt juveniles.

( three ) Natural Hazards

The sea front portion of Sagar Island is characterised by the presence of beach and beachfront dune composite. Conservation and direction of dunes in the beach face-dune composite is necessary to avoid natural catastrophes caused by the coastal jeopardies. The island is traversed by a major tidal brook and several smaller 1s. It has really low lift. For this ground, during cyclones and tidal rushs, the borders of the island are normally inundated [ 8 ] . Due to closeness to the sea, the island is often affected by the cyclonal storms generated from the Bay of Bengal. The Cyclones at times bring in high tidal bore doing harm to the bing earthen/brick calcium hydroxide butchs, bring forthing lay waste toing consequences. As a remedial step such embankments can be built with the aid of modern engineering and skill [ 3 ] .

( four ) Tourism

Tourism is the major beginning of income for the local people of Sagar Island. As declared already, the historical significance of the island dates back to 3000 BC as the Gangasager has been a really of import holy topographic point of Hindus because of its location. It is situated on the oral cavity of the river Hoogly ( Bhagirathi, Ganga ) falling into the Bay of Bengal. Over 1000 tourers visit the island every hebdomad to hold dip in Gangasagar and offer supplications in Kapil Muni Temple. Once in a twelvemonth during Sagar Mela in the 2nd hebdomad of January on Makar Shankranti twenty-four hours the temple attracts about 3 hundred thousand of pilgrims and tourers. Adjustment and lavatory installations for the pilgrims and tourers is a major challenge for local disposal. A survey shows that about 2 lakh pilgrims want to remain in the dark shelters in the just land. Others get spread over other theodolite points and in other adjustments like ashrams, hotels, inns, guest houses etc. At present the Sagar Panchayat arranges impermanent shelter for around 50,000 pilgrims [ 3 ] . If the chief constriction of jobs of communicating affecting crossing of river by ferry and deficiency of grid electricity are solved, Sagar Island can turn into a feasible coastal tourer attractive force.

( V ) Livelihood Insecurity

Sagar Island is home to about 40,000 households engaged in different types of supports, viz. , agribusiness, aquaculture, shrimp seed aggregation, and gaining control piscaries. Some depend on tourism/pilgrimage at Kapil Muni temple. Agribusiness is the chief business of the island-dwellers. About 50,000 estates of land is under cultivation, largely with nutrient harvests. About 80 % of entire arable land of this island is coastal low land. As the land is excessively saline for cultivation of Paddy, rainwater harvest home helps rabi cultivation in Sagar. Due to presence of many restraints like salt, impedd drainage, deficiency of irrigation potency and communicating jobs, most of the countries are monocropped. In the showery seasons, the salt of the H2O of the armored combat vehicle decreases due to dilution with atmospheric fresh H2O and bend to brackish H2O as observed in some lined armored combat vehicles. This H2O is used for cultivation. Therefore, available surface H2O is limited [ 3 ] . Power supply for irrigation is besides debatable in the island as it is non provided with electric supply. Rain H2O harvesing constructions offer range for heightening harvest strength. Betel foliage is grown in about 2400 estates and 1300 husbandmans are engaged in this support.

Fisheries is the 2nd largest support after agribusiness in the island. There are about 200 trawlers on the island. The hapless are engaged as angling labor on trawlers of island and some of mainlad. Livelihood based on farm animal is non promising as the figure of farm animal is worsening due to absence of croping lands. Landless supports include agribusiness and building labor, shrimp seed aggregation, conveyance and ferry labor, beedi turn overing shell trade, etc. Some people make life by providing jinrikisha in the island. About 1,500 households are engaged in beedi peal and about 500 are engagede in beach combing and sea-shell handicrat. About 8,000 to 10,000 people are engaged in self employment such as tuition Centres and trading.

An estimated 15,000 households constitute the hapless and marginalised in Sagar Island. Of these 800 to 10,000 households live in close propinquity to embankment countries. The hapless are either landless or little and fringy husbandmans. They work as agricultural laborers and pay laborers in angling trawlers. Some are engaged in building plants. They besides make their life by working as pay labor in causarinas plantations and mangrove coevals on the western side by Muringana River. Those populating near to the Waterss egage in prawn/shrimp seed aggregation. Beach combing is done to garner sea shells. These shells are sold to the local bargainers and creative persons. Farmer ‘s supports in this Island is besides affected or threatened by sea eroding and tidal inundations.

Management Crisis

The Sagar Island exhibits a high-energy, macro-tidal seashore. The marine coastal landforms show dune ridges along with step ining flats beach on the other side. The western portion of the beach is dominantly of all right sand ; whereas the eastern portion is silty and clayey. The eroding takes topographic point in the cardinal portion of the beach indicant that this portion acts as a pumping station from where deposits are sometimes transported inland organizing coastal Aeolian dunes and sometimes transported to the offshore are organizing and sometimes transported to the offshore are organizing sand bars or ridge [ 1 ] .

In instance of Sagar Island, recent observations suggest that four major countries of eroding are present: in the north E ( Kuchuberia ) ; the south east Centre ; Dublat on the south seashore, and Beguakhali on the south seashore. In contrast to these erosional countries, the balance of the Island appears to be accreting. Large countries of late developed Rhizophora mangle and salt fens are present on both east and west seashores and a significant country of accumulation was observed in the Centre of the south seashore E of Sagar Mela land. Sand accumulation on the north-east seashore is peculiarly rapid these sand beaches appear to play a cardinal function in protecting the embankment from eroding and encouraging Rhizophora mangle and salty fen colonization. All inhabited islands of Sundarbans including the Sagar Island have embankments along the fringe of the islands to forestall over exceeding due to high flood/tide and eroding by weaving brooks surrounding them. In add-on to the low criterion of defense mechanism provided by the embankment, a farther jeopardy is presented by the eroding of the mostly earth embankment. In order to be after beef uping of any bing remedial steps and to convey in new remedial steps thorough apprehension of the coastal procedures is required.

Frequent embankment failures, submerging and implosion therapy, beach eroding and siltation at breakwaters and navigational channels, cyclones and storms rushs made this country progressively vulnerable [ 1 ] .

Sagar Island depends on diesel generator sets for electricity demand and electricity is available on an organized graduated table merely during the eventide hours. The insufficiency of power supply hits at the root of any significant developmental activities and support upgradation/ sweetenings of the dwellers. The huge possibilities of development of touristry, of multi-crop cultivation through energized drawal of land H2O and of fish saving and processing could be explored with the handiness of grid electricity. The bulk of coastal people from Sundarbans have adopted shrimp seed aggregation as their profession about throughout the twelvemonth as an of import beginning of gaining. The users are neither trained nor guided at any phase from aggregation to selling and are to the full dependent on traditional methods. They foremost sort out the tiger shrimp seeds ( chiefly the post-larval phase PL 20 ) accounting merely 0.25-0.27 per centum of the entire gimmick and thenceforth the major part of the draw are thrown off on the beach flats or the tidal mudflats. This wasted bycatch contains the juveniles of economic and uneconomic assortments of finfish and shellfish. Fish civilization is one of the of import beginnings of support in Sagar Island. Output and accordingly income from traditional and unorganised patterns can be augmented farther by manner of version of organized and co-operative attack as portion of incorporate coastal zone direction of Sagar Island. To do the necessary intercession, a piscaries development strategy for the Sagar Island should be initiated with the support of local unemployed young person through formation of ego aid groups ( SHG ) , local NGOs and the concerned Gram Panchayats ( GP ) .

A survey shows that about 2,00,000 pilgrims want to remain in the dark shelters in the Sagar Mela land. Further, there should be a bound of the figure of people remaining in a crowed topographic point for assorted strategic hygienic and direction grounds. Sagar Island has immense possible as a planned eco-tourism finish. If this potency is realized through development of infrastructural installations compatible with its ecosystem, there will be phenomenal addition in the volume of quality tourers throughout the twelvemonth apart from mass pilgrim’s journey touristry during the Makar Sankranti Mela. This will make a positive impact on the socio-economic position of the local community.


The above analysis reveals that Sagar Island is alone with its natural ecosystem and has a potency for going a premier eco-tourism finish. The natural and semisynthetic jobs affect the quality of environment and life of people in Sagar Island. Although solutions to the coastal issues caused by nature could non be solved wholly, effectual coordinated attempts of the local people and the authorities could do a great difference. If the human activities could be improved in an eco-friendly mode, it will take to sustainable development of Sagar Island and the local communities could hold a healthy life in the Island. If the eco-tourism potencies of the Kapil Muni temple are tapped decently, it will make many alternate support options for the local communities paving manner for their prosperity.

An incorporate attack is required to pull off the coastal issues and community involvements. The Integrated Coastal Zone Management ( ICZM ) would be the ideal pick for equilibrating such involvements. It is an overarching construct that could supply solutions to coastal zone direction every bit good as local community development. The undermentioned recommendations will assist in bettering Sagar Island ecosystem and support of people.

As a first measure, an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan ( ICZMP ) should be prepared for Sagar Island. This Plan shall place and prioritise the jobs faced by the Island and suggest proper direction schemes for work outing them in a fixed clip frame. The undermentioned elements should organize portion of the ICZMP.

Designation of specific coastal jobs to be addressed ;

Prioritization of the jobs ;

Analysis of specific procedures that cause these jobs ;

Inventing specific direction techniques designed to extenuate these jobs ;

Puting up of organisational agreements and administrative processs for implementing the direction Plan ;

Creation of organisational linkages necessary for co-ordinated attack ; and

Finding proper fund flows through internal and external beginnings for implementing the Plan.

Establishing monitoring bureaus for supervising executing of the program.

Engagement of the local communities in the executing of the ICZMP will inculcate a sense of belongingness among the local people and they will be motivated to lend positively towards the sustainable direction of Island coastal ecosystem. Local community engagement will besides supply for the attitudinal alteration of people associating to preservation. The undermentioned activities will be helpful in this respect.

Involving the villagers of the bordering country in direction of the plantations jointly with the Forest section and/or local self authorities who will besides be entitled to the portion of usufructs which may accrue from the plantations.

Approaching soft protection steps like seting Rhizophora mangle and vegetive screens along the coastal zones.

Forming capacity edifice programmes with the aid of developing need appraisal for stakeholders through communicating, people participation in doing political determination, affecting local people for authorities strategies, integrated departmental meetings to take determinations on relevant issues and to protect our environment.

Supplying general Awareness plans to stress for grass-root public instruction so that local people come to understand support and implement sustainable resource preservation and environmental protection activities now and in the hereafter.


Natural jeopardies like implosion therapy, beach eroding, cyclones and storms, and frequent embankment breaches have immense impacts on coastal ecosystem and biodiversity of the Sagar Island. This besides affects the livelihood security of local people who mostly depend on the coastal resources. Proper diagnosis of coastal issues at the grass root degree, seasonably stakeholder engagement for coastal direction and the usage of soft engineerings with the aid of bioshields to battle eroding and environmental protection through capacity edifice and consciousness programmes for local communities will supply important chances for effectual direction and development of the Island coastline. As coastal protection is integrally linked to coastal zone planning and development, it should travel from base entirely coastal protection to sustainable development and preservation of resources for guaranting healthy environment. ICZM will supply a base for such an attack and it will function as an effectual environmental direction scheme to work out the coastal issues of Sagar Island.