Sethusamudram Project could damage marine eco system: Experts
London, Dec 11: Asking India to shelve the controversial Sethusamudram Project as it could damage the productive marine eco-system, an international group of environmentalists has suggested the Gulf of Mannar region should be declared a Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site.
Requesting President of India Pratibha Patil to cancel the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, the Ecologists and Environmentalists group claimed that the government's decision to go ahead with the project was based on legal flaws and would have inevitable and disastrous ecological and social impact.
The project could disrupt and damage the productive marine eco-system through a massive increase in the burden of silting and sedimentation, the group said adding, it will also affect coral reefs, sea grass beds, oyster beds and food fisheries.
They further said that the salinisation of the shallow aquifers on both sides of the channel could endanger and even lead to the extinction of the important local species, including dugong, green turtle and at least 25 different species of sea snake, resulting in collapse of the entire ecosystem.
It also asked India and Sri Lanka to write an application to the UNESCO to declare the Gulf of Mannar region a mixed Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site.
Earlier, a resolution in this regard was adopted on the issue at a two-day meeting here attended by an international consortium of ecologists, academics, scientists and religious leaders.