Berhampur, May 15(LocalWire): Several cyclones, big or small, have lashed the Odisha coast in the last few years.
Studying the nature of climactic changes, academicians are of the view that panting of mangroves along the coast, particularly off Ganjam, will minimise the destruction caused by cyclonic storms.
Ganjam, one of the coastal districts in the state which is vulnerable to cyclonic storms due to the absence of mangrove forests in its 60-km long-coastline, said former director, Center for Environment Studies (CES), Sailabala Padhy.
Padhy, a retired professor of Botany in Berhampur University addressed a workshop on ‘Climate Change: present scenario’ organised by the state government’s climate cell of forest and environment department supported by the Central department of science and technology here yesterday.
In 1999, when the super cyclone hit the state, the mangroves significantly reduced the number of deaths in Kendrapara, one of the worst-hit coastal districts in the state, she said.
‘Mangroves reduced human deaths, livestock loss and property damage in 1999.
The death toll would have more in the absence of mangroves in Kendrapara villages,’ she said.
Padhy referred to the recent cyclone Fani that claimed over 60 lives and caused immense destruction to infrastructure in coastal districts and Bhubaneswar.
Climate change is one of the main causes of cyclonic formations in the coastal region of the state, she added.
Shankar Narayan Bez, a botanist and convener, Eco Club, Ganjam, said the
trail of destruction in Ganjam district caused by the super cyclone Phailin which hit Gopalpur in October 2013 could have been minimised, if there were mangrove forests in the coastal area off Ganjam coast.
Climate change is not only an environment problem but it impacts various sectors, said divisional forest officer (DFO) Berhampur Ashish Kumar Behera.
Massive plantations, minimisation of vehicle use and avoiding plastics and polythenes are some of the ways to combat climate change, said Sudhir Rout, an academician.
District education officer Sanatan Panda, project director, water-shed management Subhendu Das, also addressed the workshop.
The DFO said they have planned to plant 23 lakh samplings this year in various schemes of the government in the district.