Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep

Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep

The Lakshadweep Islands, located around 300 km off the Indian mainland on the Arabian Sea, is one of India’s two archipelagos, the other being the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Andaman islands are popular for their pristine white sand beaches, unique culture and underwater gems, while the 36 small coral islands of Lakshadweep are less frequented. Still, the Lakshadweep islands are treasures, with beautiful archipelago lagoons, coral reefs untouched by man and warm, clear waters that are perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling. Unfortunately, the archipelago is sinking because of coastal erosion. One island has already sunk, and four others will soon be lost to the sea, shrinking the archipelago to 31 islands. ALSO READ: 5 places in Lakshadweep that you must not miss!

RM Hidayathulla, a researcher from Lakshadweep’s teardrop-shaped Androth island (one of the ten inhabited ones in the archipelago), has been studying the vulnerability of the islands for years. In his research paper, titled ‘Studies on Coastal Erosion in Selected Uninhabited Islands of Lakshadweep Archipelago with Special Reference to Biodiversity Conservation’, he says that the Parali I Island of the Bangaram Atoll has completely disappeared. Back in 1968, the uninhabited island had a surface area of 0.032 square kilometers.

Hidayathulla’s research paper focuses on four other uninhabited islands: Parali II and III and Bangaram and Thinnakara, all within the Bangaram Atoll. Bangaram Island is the largest among them, spread across 0.623 square kilometers. It once had a resort, but that shut down in 2011. Now, it has a population of around 10 people. Thinnakara Island, the second-largest island in the atoll, is spread across 0.522 square kilometers. A new resort is being built here, owned by locals of Agatti Island. CHECK OUT: Lakshadweep – Explore the Exotic Sunkissed Islands of India

Speaking to the Press Trust of India, Hidayathulla stressed the need for urgent measures to stop further erosion in the atoll and to come up with ways to protect the mangroves that act as a natural barrier to such erosion. He also suggested more conventional measures of physical protection, with the four other islands sinking fast. Chandra Bhushan, the Deputy Director General of the Centre for Science and Environment, a public interest research organization, added that rising sea levels due to global warming will erode coastal areas and islands, putting their populations at risk.