RAMANATHAPURAM/CHENNAI: Two islands in the Gulf of Mannar have submerged within the last few months arguably due to global warming.
According to Sundara Kumar, GOMMNP warden, the two islands went underwater as the water level increased due to global warming. Bunkum, says Deepak Samuel, representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust. “Illegal coral mining is the major cause for islands to submerge and not climate change,” he argues. “The corals act as a barrier and take the tidal pressure thereby preventing erosion of the islands. Generations of exploitation of corals has resulted in the islands facing the entire brunt of the sea causing it to submerge,” he claims.
“Sea level rise due to climate change has occurred at a mean rate of 1.8 mm per year for the past century, according to intergovernmental studies. While this might be a serious threat to the biosphere in the future, in present conditions, climate change cannot possibly be the reason for the islands’ submergence,” says Aarthi Sridhar, project coordinator, Central Indian Ocean, IUCN-World Commission on Protected Areas.
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