The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 1991 has been replaced recently in January 2011 by the latest CRZ notification of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)
Coastal Zone is always on the forefront of civilization and has been by far the most exploited geomorphical unit of earth. Its easy access and resourcefulness have always attracted human activities, but its complexity in understanding has led to misuse and abuse. In recent time, the coastal zone of world is under increasing pressure due to high rate of human population growth, development of various industries, fishing, mining, discharge of municipal sewage and industrial waste effluents. This industrial development on coast has resulted in degradation of coastal ecosystems and diminishing the living resources. Coastal area is vital to the prosperity of the country and are biologically most productive area, supporting wealth of living marine resources. Thus there is urgent need to conserve the coastal ecosystems and habitats by implementing the coastal regulation zone notification and integrated coastal zone management study.
The term coastal zone means the coastal water, wetland and shore land strongly influenced by marine waters. In other word, this is the area of interaction between land and sea, which is influenced by both terrestrial and marine environment. The coastal zone includes the area between high and low tide line, up to 10 nautical miles toward the sea from high tide line and up to 20 km. from high tide line towards land side. Environmentally affective coastal zone management requires accurate, up to date and comprehensive scientific data on which policy decision can be based. A basic problem in coastal zone study is limited availability of coastal data. Specific chart showing high and low tide lines as well as wetland and land use categories in coastal regulatory zones on large scale are extensively used for implementing guidelines for protection of coastal zone resources and habitats.
In view of above, there is a need to prepare coastal regulation zone plan and coastal zone management charts as per International standard of quality and accuracy for use by coastal states and coastal zone users. In the present paper, an attempt has been made to general discussion on planning of special coastal regulation zone chart for managing coastal zone and coastal features for sustainable use by demarcating high and low tide line on chart with the help of hydrographic survey carried out by Naval Hydrographic Department. The notification issued by government of India in connection with conservation of coastal resources and habitats has been discussed. The prohibited and regulation of permissible activities in coastal regulation zone along with coastal area classification are also reviewed in this paper.
In recent time, the coastal zone of world is under increasing pressure due to high rate of human population growth, development of various industries, mining, fishing, industrial waste effluents and discharge of municipal sewage. Such industrial development along the coast has resulted in degradation of coastal ecosystems and diminishing the coastal resources. Thus there is an urgent need to protect the coastal ecosystems and habitats by implementing the coastal regulation zone notification and integrated coastal zone management study. Healthy coastal life needs understanding and proper planning of environment, on and around the coast. Perhaps with these views only the ministry of Environment and forest, Government of India issued a notification in the year 1991, under Environment protection act of 1986, declaring coastal stretches as coastal regulation zone (CRZ) and regulating activities in CRZ.
India has a coast of about 7516 km long and 4198 islands are spread along the main coast of Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep group. The coastal zone means the coastal water, wetland and shore land strongly influenced by marine water. This is the area of interaction between land and sea, which is influenced by both terrestrial and marine environment. The coastal zone includes the area between high tide line (HTL) and low tide line(LTL), up to 10 nautical miles towards the seaside from HTL and up to 20 km from HTL towards the land side. The accurate demarcation of shoreline is very important for planning purposes. The prime requisite of coastal regulation zone plan chart is basically to manage coastal and coastal zone features for sustainable use by demarcating high and low tide line on chart with the help of hydrographic surveys.
Environment protection act
In order to conserve resources by controlling their depletion and manage development activities, Government of India had promulgated the Environmental (protection) act 1986. The ministry of Environment and Forest has notified in February 1991, the coastal stretches from HTL to 500 mts. towards land and from HTL to LTL towards sea as coastal regulation zone(CRZ). In view of above there is necessity to prepare CRZ plan and CZM charts for our coastal zone as per International standard of quality and accuracy for coastal zone users. Latest Hydrographic surveys of LTL, HTL, 200 mts. Line and 500mt line are the input source for the preparation of CRZ planning charts. Naval Hydrographic Department (NHD) of India is responsible for delineation of high tide line and low tide line, which are baseline for preparation of CRZ plan chart. Since NHD has the professional capacity and technology, the ministry of Environment and Forest has requested to NHD to verify coastal regulation zone plan prepared by states for precise depiction of HTL, LTL and control marks and prepare guidelines for CRZ/ coastal zone management chart
Implementation of CRZ notification and its implication
The CRZ notification has put too many restrictions on the development along the coast. In Maharastra, with its coast line 720 km and 54 river creeks, significant stretches in land are badly hit by the CRZ notification. It is posing several problems before the planners and decision makers on one side and investors and developers in other. The CRZ notification as mentioned earlier has put too many restrictions on the development along the coast. Various important issues of CRZ notification and implication involved in the process of planning and development are as follow:
(a) Demarcation of high tide line
High tide line (HTL) in the coastal regulation zone notification is defined as line up to which highest high tide reaches in spring tides. It is delineated by walking over or remote sensing data or by helicopter survey.
(b) Demarcation of low tide line
The low tide line is the limit up to which the lowest low tide recedes during spring tide. This line would be arrived at by making a bathymetric chart of the coastal area with the datum of chart being the lowest low tide.
(c) Dealing with the creeks
In case of creeks, CRZ notifications and subsequent supreme court judgment have stipulated that if the width of creek is up to 350 meters, the CRZ will be 100 meters from the creek and if the width exceeds 350 meters, it will be 150 meters from the creek. Now from where to measure the distance of 100 meters or 150 meters is a point of debate.
Another point in respect of creeks is up to what distance inside the creek, the CRZ notification will be applied. British experts have opined that distance inside creek, where tidal effect of the wave comes to and end, should be considered as the distance inside creek for determine the coastal zone.
(d) Condition regarding mangroves
It is stipulated that in case of mangrove with an area of 1000m2 or more, would be classified as CRZ with a buffer zone of at least 50 mt. Mangrove is a tropical tree growing, along the coast and requires saline water for its growth.
(e) Ecologically sensitive features demarcation
In order to implement CRZ Plan, it would be necessary to demarcate and survey of foreshore and offshore features which are ecologically sensitive such as mangrove, spawning ground of marine life, corals and other features like wetland, marsh, swamp, bays, estuaries, creeks, bunds and back waters that are influenced by Tidal action. Coral reefs are the spawning ground of aquatic life, and sea grass bed is important feeding ground for fishes. Mangrove and coral reefs also act as a buffer zone against wave and tidal force, for stabilizing and safeguarding the coast. Before planning to make the CRZ plan chart, the proper evaluation of the coastal features and their proper measure is highly essential.
Apart from codifying the 25 amendments that were made to CRZ notification between 1991-2009, the CRZ notification (2011) has several new features –
It has special provisions for Goa, Kerala, Greater Mumbai and critically vulnerable coastal areas (CVCAs) like:
Sunderban mangrove area,
Chilka and Bhitarkanika (Orissa),
Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Kutch (Gujarat),
Karwar and Kundapur (Karnataka),
Coringa, East Godavari and Krishna Delta (Andhra Pradesh),
Gulf of Mannar (Tamil Nadu).
Clear procedures for obtaining CRZ approval with time-lines have been stipulated along with post-clearance monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.
Water area up to 12 nautical miles in the sea and the entire water area of a tidal water body such as creek, river, estuary etc., would now be included in the CRZ areas, without imposing any restrictions of fishing activities.
The concept of a Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), to be prepared with the fullest involvement and participation of local communities, has been introduced.
The concept of a hazard line to be demarcated over the next five years has been introduced to protect life and property of local communities and infrastructure along coastal areas.
Coastal area classification and development zone
For regulating developmental activities, the coastal stretches within 500 meters of HTL on the land ward side are classified into the following different categories of coastal regulation zones (CRZ) four categories.
Category I (CRZ-I)
The areas that are ecologically sensitive and important such as national parks, sanctuaries, reserve forest, wild life habitats, mangroves, coral reef area close to breeding spawning ground of fish and marine life, Historical heritage area, and areas likely to be inundated due ti rise in sea level due to global warning. It covers the area between high tide line and low tide line.
Category II (CRZ-II)
The areas that have already been developed up to and close to the shoreline. For this purpose, developed area is referred to as that area within the municipal limits or in other legally designated urban area which is already substantially built up and which has been provided with drainage and approach roads and other infrastructure facilities, such as water supply and sewerage mains.
Some development on land ward side of existing road and structures and proposed road shown on the coastal zone management plan are permissible in this zone.
Category III (CRZ-III)
The area that are relatively undisturbed and those which do not belong to either category –I or ii. These will include coastal zone in the rural areas (developed and undeveloped) and also area within municipal limits or in order legally designated urban ares, which are not substantially built up.
Category IV (CRZ-IV)
Coastal stretches in the Andaman and Nicobar, Laksadweep and small islands except those designated as CRZ-I, CRZ-II and CRZ-III.