Category Archives: Inform

How sand mining mafia is plundering beaches and creeks

sand-miner-mumbai
Sand miners, Mumbai. Photo courtesy of: © Denis Delestrac

By The Khaleej Times International

Sailing down south from Mumbai along the Konkan coast, one comes across several lovely beaches, devoid of tourists, hotels and resorts and other commercial activities. Unfortunately, these days many of the beaches are also devoid of sand, thanks to reckless mining by a powerful mafia, controlled by local goons and politicians.

For years, Maharashtra’s coastal region has been under assault by the sand mining mafia, fuelled by a furious hunger for natural sand from the construction industry in Mumbai. While the country’s commercial capital has been witnessing explosive activity on the construction front, the beaches, creeks and river beds along the coast have been ravaged by miners…

Read Full Article, Khalee Times

The Bombay High Court banned sand extraction, Deccan Herald

Ban on Sand Dredging Has Hit Projects; Dredging Today

The Builders’ Association of India: Projects have come to a standstill, Indian Express

Coastal Regulation Zone, Maharashtra

Lagos Expansion Into Atlantic Ocean, Nigeria

Lagos Niger

By Demola Abimboye

By 2016, Lagos will get a new city to be built on nine million square metres of reclaimed land about 2.4 kilometres into the Atlantic Ocean, south of Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island. It promises to be Nigeria’s most ambitious city on reclaimed land and one of Africa’s biggest marine engineering projects.

Between now and 2016, about nine million square metres of land would be reclaimed 2.4 kilometres south of Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos, into the Atlantic Ocean.

The planned city is one and a half times the size of current Victoria Island. When completed, the new island would be called Eko Atlantic City. It is estimated to accommodate 250,000 residents and 150,000 commuters.

Already, 1.3 million square metres of prime land has been reclaimed. This has convinced many Nigerians of the viability of the project. Thus, many wealthy individuals and corporate bodies have bought plots of land ahead of completion schedule. The ambitious project is being undertaken by South Energyx Nigeria Limited, SENL, a subsidiary of the Chaghoury Group, which has been highly active in Nigeria for over 30 years. The group has handled many major construction and engineering works. SENL and the development of Eko Atlantic project were recognised by the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009 as committed to combating the threat of flooding to Victoria Island from rising sea levels.

For the success of Eko Atlantic City project, SENL boasts of partnership with some of the world’s experts in marine engineering, land reclamation and city design as well as strong financial backing. Royal Haskoning, a firm of Dutch architects and engineers, is involved while Dredging International, a Belgian company, is shouldering the massive landfill operation.

Four banks – three local and one international – are providing financial support for the entirely private sector project. These are First Bank PLC, Guaranty Trust Bank PLC, First City Monument Bank PLC and BNP Paribas Fortis of France. Diya, Fatimilehin & Co, a firm of estate surveyors and valuers, is marketing the gigantic prime real estate business.

Marc Chaghouri of SENL told Newswatch that the concept is to create an international standard city. The city will cover seven districts: Ocean Front, Harbour Lights, Business District, Eko Drive, Marina, Avenues and Downtown.

The business district will be spread across 1.3 million square metres dedicated to providing West Africa with a world class commercial hub. At the heart of this district will be the Eko Atlantic financial centre, “a key to success and prosperity.” The centre’s imposing towers will house corporate headquarters-banks, insurance companies, a room for stock exchange and hotels. “It will open a new vista for Nigeria and Africa,” Chaghouri said, adding: “The city will provide world class property in a world class environment where people can live and work in harmony.”

The city’s planners have incorporated round the clock independent power generation, central water supply and sewage disposal systems into the scheme. With a global certificate of occupancy already given by the Lagos State government, the developers have created a specialised planning unit to streamline an approval process and ensure quality of construction and integrity of each development.

There will be a light rail system with 60 stops throughout the city and canals for light ferry services. And aside a network of roads to ensure free traffic flow, every building must have basement parking spaces for its occupants and visitors. “Eko Atlantic City will have zero tolerance for street parking,” Chaghouri said.

To protect the new city against ocean surge, SENL is building a sea barrier which it fondly refers to as the Great Wall of Lagos. The 6.5 kilometre long wall was designed by Royal Haskoning and tested in Denmark by the world renowned Danish Hydraulic Institute, DHI. Chaghouri said the result proved that “it can withstand the worst storm imaginable in a thousand years.” The Great Wall is already one kilometre long when Newswatch visited last week.

Chaghouri said further that in building the wall, his company took cognisance of the chronic erosion of the Bar Beach which reached an unbearable peak in 2005 with severe threat of flooding. To check further erosion, a shoreline protection wall running along the entire length of the beach was built. Yet the ocean remained a threat to Victoria Island. It was against this backdrop that the idea of Eko Atlantic City emerged principally to restore the shoreline to where it was 100 years ago and build a world class city on reclaimed land.

Consequently, the Bola Tinubu administration granted SENL the concession to reclaim and develop land for the city in 2006. Since then, the company has recorded a huge success. Kolawole Diya of Diya, Fatimilehin & Co, marketing consultants to SENL on the prime real estate, said more that 1.3 million square metres of land is already visible and up for sale at between $825 and $1,600 per square metre.

He said it was denominated in dollar to protect buyers against fluctuations in the Naira exchange rate. He explained that since the rate is not static but changes regularly at the auctions by the Central Bank of Nigeria, buyers would be adequately protected against the vagaries in the financial supermarkets should the local currency depreciate sharply.

“We are proud of our currency but property transactions in commercial nerve centres of the world are being denominated in dollars. And Nigerian professionals have keyed in, more so, as thousands of foreigners and foreign companies are expected to own properties in Eko Atlantic City, Nigeria’s new gateway into Africa in the 21st century,” he said.

Victoria Island was originally surrounded by water, Atlantic Ocean in the south, the mouth of the Lagos Lagoon to the west, the five Cowrie Creek to the north and swamps on the east. The colonial government filled the eastern swamps to reduce mosquito breeding areas. This created a land bridge between the island and Lekki peninsula, thus ending its existence as a true island.

After independence, successive state governments expanded this development, culminating in the construction of a high way linking Victoria Island to Epe. VI, as it is popularly called, was initially intended for suburban residential development but became an attractive location for financial institutions and other businesses in the 1970s. The rapid expansion seriously outstretched limited amenities and resources. The developers of the new city hope to have independently reliable infrastructure to avoid the mistakes of the past without the government investing its scarce funds in it.

Original Article

Shipwrecks and Vanishing Coastlines: a Nigerian Predicament, Coastal Care

Global Groundwater Depletion Leads to Sea Level Rise

Sea Level Rise
Almost half of the current sea level rise can be explained by expansion of warming sea water, just over one quarter by the melting of glaciers and ice caps and slightly less than one quarter by groundwater depletion. Previous studies have identified groundwater depletion as a possible contribution to sea level rise. However, due to the high uncertainty about the size of its contribution, groundwater depletion is not included in the latest IPCC report.
This new study confirms with higher certainty that groundwater depletion is indeed a significant factor.

Photo Source: National Geographic

Excerpts;

Large-scale groundwater extraction for irrigation, drinking water or industry results in an annual rise in sea levels of approximately 0.8 mm, accounting for about one-quarter of total annual sea-level rise (3.1 mm), which is a surprisingly large amount. That’s about as much sea-level rise as caused by the melting of glaciers and icecaps outside of Greenland and Antarctica, and it exceeds or falls into the high end of previous estimates of groundwater depletion’s contribution to sea level rise.

According to hydrologists from Utrecht University and the research institute Deltares, the rise in sea levels can be attributed to the fact that most of the groundwater extracted ultimately winds up in the sea. The hydrologists explain their findings in an article to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Groundwater extraction is more common in more arid regions of the world, where there is less available surface water…

Read Full Article, Utrecht University, Netherlands

International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre

New York Seas to Rise Twice as Much as Rest of U.S.

nyc
New York. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Sea levels around New York City and much of the U.S. Northeast will rise twice as much as in other parts of the United States this century, according to new climate models (U.S. Northeast map).

Driven by changes in ocean circulation, the rapid sea level rise will bring increased risk of damage from hurricanes and winter storm surges, researchers say…

Read Full Article, National Geographic

Five architects’ plans for managing a globally warmed future, MoMA

Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront, MoMA, March 24–October 11, 2010

Copenhagen Accord Loopholes and Risks to the “Rainforests of the Sea”

coral-dead
Bleached coral. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A global temperature increase of up to 4.2 º C and the end of coral reefs could become reality by 2100 if national targets are not revised in the Copenhagen Accord, the international pledge which was agreed at last year’s Copenhagen’s COP15 climate change conference…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Coral Bleaching Likely in Caribbean This Year, NOAA

Palau, at risk from rising seas, aims to drill for oil

palau-rocks-islands
Palau. Photo source: ©© Matt Kiefer

Excerpts

Palau is a paradox: The low-lying Pacific island nation is threatened by climate change but may soon be drilling for oil.

Seismic tests in the 1970s indicated the presence of petroleum but exploratory wells were never dug. Now, President Johnson Toribiong is pushing for exploration, hopeful oil will bring cheaper fuel, revenue and jobs…

Read Full Article, Reuters

Savagery without Borders: Whaling: When the sands turns from white to blood red in the bays

faroe-whaling
After the kill…Pilot whale hunt, Hvannasund, Faroe Islands. Captions and Photo source: ©© Hans Juul Hansen

Savagery without Borders

Whaling: When the sands turns from white to blood red in the bays of the Faroe Islands.
Excerpts from Animal Health, Wikipedia, Geraldine, and Claire Le Guern

Denmark is involved in a shameful practice. While it may seem incredible, even today a whale slaughtering custom continues, in the Faroe Islands. The sea is stained in red and currently it’s not because of the climate or effects of nature. It is the slaughtering of hundreds of the famous and intelligent Calderon dolphins, which are a type of Pilot whales. An intelligent dolphin that is placid and approaches humans out of friendliness.

Denmark

This happens every year in Faroe Island in Denmark. In this slaughter the main participants are young teens. This is perceived as a celebration and as a form of social identity and cultural rite of passage for the islanders.

Is it necessary to mention that the dolphin calderon, like all the other species of dolphins, it’s near extinction and they get near men to play and interact.

The Faroe Islands (Faroese: Føroyar, Danish: Færøerne) are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Great Britain and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland.

Records of drive hunts in the Faroe Islands date back to 1584. It is regulated by Faroese authorities but not by the International Whaling Commission as there are disagreements about the Commission’s legal authority to regulate small cetacean hunts. Hundreds of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melaena) are killed annually, mainly during the summer.

The hunts, called “grindadráp” in Faroese, are non-commercial and are organized on a community level; anyone can participate.

Some Faroese consider the hunt an important part of their culture and history.They do use the pilot whale carcasses for meat and oil, but perhaps it’s not that important to the people’s food supply if they could get alternative funding or food supplements to replace these stores of whale blubber.

The defense the people take for this ritual is that it is no different from killing a sheep. However, because the times have changed and their own society has become modernized, chance to help them change for the better exist….to be able to progress past this barbarism.

Since 1948, the Faroe Islands have been a self governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark. It has its own parliament and its own flag. It is not, however, a member of the European Union and all trade is governed by special treaties.

Denmark

This is an utterly distressing, yet quintessential illustration of the human tragedy… which is an insatiable thirst for control and power, rooted in a deep sense of fear and weakness. Violence, here physical ,is the unfortunate and lost path, chosen by so many weak, threaten, ignorant minds, in order to attempt, fallaciously, to reach a place where ” control ” is felt… whatever name is then branded as a socially accepted justification: tradition, culture, rite…

Stop the Calderon Dolphin Slaughter in Denmark- Petition Online

Calderon Dolphin Slaughter in Denmark, Protect The Ocean

Wikipedia

Dolphins Escape an Annual Japanese’s Hunt, AFP
Japanese police have launched a probe after nets on holding pens for dolphins in the coastal town of Taiji were cut during an annual hunt, possibly by foreign activists, a press report said Wednesday. Taiji, located on the western Japanese peninsula of Kii, has drawn worldwide attention after a US documentary film, The Cove, which described the slaughter of dolphins there, won an Oscar for best documentary this year. Every year, fishermen in Taiji herd about 2,000 dolphins into a shallow bay, select several dozen for sale to aquariums and marine parks and harpoon the rest for meat…