Environmental Officer (EM&A), Central Environmental Authority, Sri Lanka
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT IN SRI LANKA:CURRENT ISSUES AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIESEnvironmental Officer (EM&A)Central Environmental Authority
The development of the country has been closely related to maritime activities. Coastal regions (Defined as the AGA division with a Maritime boundary) encompasses 22% of the total extent; 32% of the country's population. 65% of the urbanized areas, 41% of the urban places, 4 out of 6 cities (population 100,000 & over) 17 out of 34 intermediate size (20000-99,999), 50% of the small size (below 20,000) towns, over 80% of tourist hotel rooms and two third of the of all industrial production of Sri Lanka. As a result the development of physical, economic and social infrastructure as well as the resource use in the coastal zone has been rapidly increased causing savior environmental degradation especially during the last 25 years.
Coastal uses including urban expansion, commercial and fisheries harbour development, river training and out fall schemes, transport and communications, recreational and tourism development, sand and coral mining have all had tremendous impact on the coastal environment. These stresses have been further aggravated by the ever present threat of coastal erosion especially occurred in the south and south western part of the country. With population growth the pressure on the resource base of the coastal zone had also proportionately increased creating new stresses on the coastal environment. Today, plans for sustainable utilization of the island's coastal resources, whether for further settlement, agricultural development, fisheries and aquaculture promotion, tourism or other purposes, underline the need for a deeper awareness and appreciation of the character of this resource base, its potentialities, problems and evolutionary tendencies.
Interest in the management of coastal problems in Sri Lanka dates from the 1920's. Efforts in this field were primarily directed towards seeking engineering solutions to curb immediate coastal erosion problems by construction of protective structures. However, the lack of understanding of the dynamic nature and complex interrelationship among ecosystems and human activities in the coastal zone resulted in an escalation of coastal problems. The realization that a comprehensive approach to coastal resource management was required led to the establishment of a coast Protection Unit in 1963. In 1978 Coast Conservation Division was established in the Ministry of Fisheries and up graded to a department in 1984. In 1981 Parliament enacted Coast Conservation Act No. 57 of 1981 and came into operation in 1983. The Act has assigned the coast Conservation Department three primary responsibilities within the designated coastal zone (Figure 1);
a) Policy formulation, planning and research;b) Administration of permit procedures regulating coastal development activitiesc) Construction and maintenance of shoreline protection works.
2.0 The Major Coastal Issues
1. Coastal Erosion
2.1 Coastal Erosion
- Natural process due to monsoon generated wave attacks- Man-induced changes occur due to extraction of sand and corals from the coastal zone and improperly cited buildings and maritime structures.While coastal erosion is caused by natural process, human activities such as mining of beach and river sand, mining of corals and Construction of ill - planned maritime structures are major factors contributing significantly to coastal erosion.
The "Coastal Zone" is defined in the Coast Conservation act as ....
"That area lying within a limit of three hundred meters landward of the Mean High Water Line and a limit of two kilometers seaward of the Mean Low Water Line and in the case of rivers, streams, lagoons, or any other body of water connected to the sea either permanently or periodically, the landward boundary shall extent to a limit of two kilometers measures perpendicular to the straight base line drawn between the natural entrance points there of and shall include waters of such rivers, streams and lagoons or any other body of water to the sea."
It has been calculated that the damage, in the form of land loss and/or protection comes to Rs. 25 to 30 million per annum or Rs. 9.00 per m3 of sand mined as a result of rapid level of sand mining in the coastal region, major impacts could as follows;
a) coastal erosionb) Salt water intrusion into the upstream areas and intakesc) Increase flooding originating from the sead) Water quality problemse) River bank erosion
2.1.2 Coral Mining
2.1.3 Construction of maritime structures
2.2 Loss and degradation of coastal habitats
2.3 Loss and degradation of archaeological historic and scenic sites
2.4 Coastal Pollution
3.0 Management Approach
1. Preparation of a National Coastal Zone Management Plan
The Coast Conservation Act also mandated the preparation and implementation of a Coastal Zone Management Plan. Thus the plan was prepared with technical assistance of the University of Rhode Island, USAID and is being implemented since 1990. The Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) 1990 can not conceived as a panacea for all the problems and issues resulting from neglect and past mis-management. The plan address only certain critical coastal issues with initial emphasis on problems causing significant economic and social losses which are more amenable to accepted management practices. In particular the plan has attempted to address problems related to coastal erosion, coastal habitats and the loss and degradation of historical and cultural sites and scenic and recreational areas.
It has also dealt with the regulatory system including the legal, administrative and fiscal functions of the Coast Conservation Department (CCD), while paying some attention to research and education. It has been considered that the plan is an incremental one and coastal zone management planning is a continuing effort. Thus the CZMP 1990 should be considered as a first generation plan and the policies and management strategies outlined therein will have to be tested and their successes and failures evaluated over time.
Implementing actions in the coastal Zone Management Plan are of several types: regulations, direct development, research, coordination, education and awareness, plan and policy development.
According to the Coast Conservation Act it is mandatory to review the CZMP in every four years time. Thus the first generation CZMP is under revision now, and the past experience reveal the necessity of inclusion of two new chapters, namely; on Pollution and Special Area Management.
3.2 Coast Erosion Management Plan
Once the Master Plan for Coastal Erosion Management was completed, DANIDA provided further assistance for two stages of coastal protection structures and beach nourishment. Stage 1 (1987 -1989), for the Negombo and Moratuwa coast protection schemes, cost an estimated Rs. 320 million ($US 6,660,000); and State ii (1990 - 1992) for protection of the main road from Beruwela to Weligama, cost approximately Rs. 500 million ($ US 10,400,000). In 1994 the Coastal Erosion Master Plan was updated and presently further donor assistance are being seeking for its implementation.
4.0 Management Tools
1. Regulations2. Director Development3. Research4. Education and Awareness5. Plan and policy development
The regulatory program as administered by the coast conservation Department is essentially reactive. The program responds to proposals made by other governmental agencies and private developers for construction and alteration of the coastline. The CCD is attempts to minimize the environmental and social impacts of development projects through its permit procedures, set-back standards, prohibitions and in some cases subjects the development proposals to the Environmental Impact Assessment requirements. It also ensures that environmentally and structurally appropriate sitting decisions are made.
A second major type of management tool is being used in the process of coastal zone management is direct development activities undertaken by government. With regard to coastal erosion management the major type of direct development is the construction of shore protection works.
A third type of management tool is to identify areas of research and conduct research. Research is necessary because often good management is precluded due to some coastal problems being inadequately understood. During the recent past CCD initiated research on problems related to implementation of the CZM Plan. The CCD has sponsored research on the social and economic aspects of coral mining and sand mining, on how to improve permitting procedures, and how to better educate and involve coastal communities in coastal zone management.
The need for environmental awareness and education in support of Sri Lanka's Coastal Zone Management Program was clearly recognized in the Coastal Zone Management Plan. The successful implementation is depend on both understanding and support of the people of Sri Lanka. Thus the coast conservation Department has implemented vigorous public awareness and education program since 1992 to date. The German Technical Assistance Agency (GTZ) has also been provided assistance for strengthening the coastal Zone Management Program including the aspects of environmental education and awareness.
Under plan and policy development, CCD is enable to focused on Special Are Management as a subsequent planning effort to CZMP. special Are Management (SAM) planning has emerged as a successful method of managing development in complex coastal settings. It is being tested in two coastal sites in Sri Lanka as an auxiliary coastal zone management tool. Based on the outcome of the present experience of SAM process, additional twenty one sites have been identified by the coast Conservation Department for future implementation.
The experience gain in coastal management in the recent past has shown that the scope of the endeavor must be broadened. It indicates that a collaborative effort on the part of several governmental agencies, non governmental organizations, and local communities is required and that the geographic area and issues addressed must be expanded. Thus, the future planning and management efforts in Sri Lanka must be focused more on Special Area Management to achieve the desired goals and objectives of sustainable coastal resource management.
With the establishment of the Coast Conservation Division in the Ministry of Fisheries in January 1978 marked an important mile stone in Sri Lanka's efforts at managing its coastal resources. The Coast Conservation Division was upgraded to the status of a Government Department under the said ministry in January 1984 in recognition of the magnitude of the task it is mandated to perform by the legislation. During the last seventeen years, first generation coastal zone management efforts had been successfully undertaken by the Coast conservation Department. As a result of comprehensive donor assistance programs and the contribution made by the Sri Lankan government, today its Coastal Zone Management Program could be identified as a successful model among the developing countries.
Yaga Bamunu Mohottallage Chandana Jayantha Senavirathne
We have just received a letter from the Coast Conservation Guards asking us to demolish the sea wall we have built at our OWN expenses on OUR land to protect our house/property from sea erosion. But reading this article they seem to be aware of the sea erosion problem Sri Lankan sealine is facing, so why such a behaviour ? Only because village fishermen are complaining that they cannot put their catamarans in front of it ?
Could somebody reply to this ?
We have received these days a letter from the Coastal Conservation Guards asking us to demolish the private sea wall we have built at our own expenses on our land to protect our house and property from Sea erosion. But reading this article it seems to us that they do understand the sea erosion problem Sri Lanka is facing, so why such a behaviour ? Only because village fishermen are complaining that they have no room for their catamarans ? This seems to be un nonsense....!!!