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THREAT TO MARINE LIFE?

Eco group opposes power plant, captive port in Cuddalore

8 February 2010
Times of India

Cuddalore: The SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors (SACEM), a non-government forum, has raised strong objection to the proposed 3,600-MW thermal power plant, captive port and desalination plant in Cuddalore and sought to highlight several lacunae in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) done by the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited.

The forum registered its views during a recent public hearing and has forwarded representations in this regard to the Union ministry of environment and forests and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. In its representation, SACEM said the EIA by the company did not properly assess the projectís impact on marine ecology.

The assessment report merely says, "The construction activities such as capital dredging, reclamation and construction of breakwaters will result in disturbance to the marine ecology. These impacts will be temporary," according to SACEM. The forum pointed out that the EIA must describe and quantify the disturbance to the marine ecology.

The forum members said macro invertebrates and seabed vegetation, which are essential components of the marine food chain, would be eliminated due to dredging. "A quantitative assessment of the loss of these resources on the overall marine biological aquatic community must be done," they argued.

They also contended that the report did not dwell on storm water management system. "The project area gets good rainfall (383 mm in November alone) and without proper drainage, storm water will wash pollutants from the site and dump it into the sea affecting marine ecology," they said. Similarly, the EIA did not elaborate on the impact to coral reefs due to various factors including increase in seawater temperature.

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